||Flutes for Students
If your child is ready to take up the flute
and join the middle school band, here are
some things that will help you get the right
flute at the right price.
Buy or rent?
Buying a student model flute
can be a good
investment unless you are unsure
child will stick with it -- in
you might do better to rent.
instrument stores offer reasonably
rental plans (with lower payments
the first three months to encourage
give the instrument a try). If
there's a good chance that you
to keep the flute you are going
ask about a "rent-to-buy"
-- for a few extra dollars, it
the flexibility of a rental along
portion of the monthly payment
the ultimate purchase. Caution:
from off-brand low-cost overseas
discount stores. Band directors
shops won't touch them because
they are so
cheaply made and hard to repair.
Flute makers and features
All major flute manufacturers make student
models. Construction is more geared to promote
durability and ease of playing than sound
quality or pitch accuracy over the entire
note range. Student flutes are typically
made from nickel-silver, which actually has
no silver in it at all—it is an alloy of
copper, zinc, and nickel. These models may
be plated with silver. Better flutes have
more silver content, but the price goes up
substantially. Since there is no appreciable
difference in quality across manufacturers'
student models, seek the advice of the band
director to find music stores or online merchants
offering the best deal for you.
One feature to look for is the
shape of the
lip plate. A curved lip plate
makes the flute
easier for a student to play.
And the size
of the mouth hole should be average,
a larger hole makes it easier
to play low
notes, while a smaller hole benefits
Regulating screws (usually four
allow the flutist to adjust the
keys without the need to send
it to the repair
Make sure you include a hard
case that can
take the abuse dealt carrying
it back and
forth to school. A cleaning cloth
allows the student to clean out
after use, thus resisting rust
and mold and
increasing the flute's life.