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A Beginner's Guide to the Flute

What is a flute?

The flute is a reedless member of the woodwind family of musical instruments. It is played in a horizontal fashion, with the flautist blowing into a mouthpiece and creating different notes by pressing the keys that run along its body.

As with many woodwind instruments, the flute needs to be assembled before it can be played, although this is done easily through simply slotting the different parts together. There are six main parts to the instrument - the head joint, body joint, foot joint, crown, lip plate and tenon.

Types of flute

The two most common flutes available are the Plateau and the French. The Plateau is a closed-hole standard beginner flute that is easier to play, while the French features open holes, allowing advanced players to explore tonal nuances.

Plateau flutes, such as the Student Flute with Case can be bought from £89.95. The instrument is capable of taking flautists up to grade six standard and has a durable corrosion resistant nickel-silver body, which means the flute could last for a long time if properly cared for. Designed specifically for beginners, the light-weight model boasts easy key action and response and produces a bright and open tone. It also comes with a hard case and a cleaning rod for maintenance purposes.

For younger children, there is the Curved Head Student Flute for £99.99. It has a number of the same qualities as the standard Student Flute, but it features a curved head to make it easier to play for smaller musicians. Once the curved head has been outgrown, there is no real need to buy another flute either, as the instrument also comes with a straight head that can be fixed on in its place.

Flutes are available to cater for every stage of a learner's advancement through the grades, with the Rosedale Intermediate Flute priced at £219.95. With a head joint made from precious metals, the flute can produce a dark warm tone and offers a number of features normally found on higher-end instruments, such as professional standard blued steel springs. It is a Plateau flute, but French models are also available as part of the range, with a Rosedale Open Hole Flute costing £229.95.

For those looking for top-end French student, intermediate and professional flutes, Yamaha offers a number of models. The Yamaha YFL271 UK French Student Flute is available from £395, while the Yamaha YFL311 UK Intermediate Flute is priced at £799. At the top of the range is the Yamaha YFL614UK Professional Flute for £2,599.95.

Extras to look for when buying a flute

Away from tone quality and pricing, there a number of possible flute features that people may wish to bear in mind before purchasing an instrument. Different foot joints are available to extend the playable range, while offsets can make fingering easier. The split-E mechanism can make it simpler for flautists to play high E.

Those looking to begin playing the flute straight away may be interested in buying a model with a starter pack. The £109.95 Flute Beginner Starter Pack, for example, comes with a music stand, an Odyssey Flute Care Kit and an Ultimate Beginners Flute DVD.

Another item that would-be flautists may be interested in is a Flute Stand Flute Stand, which costs £4.99.

Posted on 17 Apr 2009 16:13 to category : Tips and advice

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