• Lilly Yang

5 Things Beginner Flute Players Need

Updated: Oct 24, 2021

Hello! Welcome to the blog section of this website where I share some tips and tricks for flute players. My name is Lilly and I'm a classical flautist who has over a decade of playing and performing experience. For today's blog post, I'll be kicking things off by going through five things you'll need before starting flute lessons with a teacher.


Purchasing links will be at the very bottom of this article 😊


Remember this is only very general advice for you to consider in addition to what your teacher recommends. Let's get started!




So, you or your child have just decided that they'd like to start learning the flute. What's next? What are some things you need to know? What are some things you need to purchase before you turn up to your very first flute lesson?



1. Instrument - A flute

The first thing you'll need is an instrument to play with. You will need a personal instrument to practise at home with.


Unless your music teacher supplies flutes to lease/rent, you'll need to get your own flute.


If you are a complete beginner, there is no need to purchase an intermediate flute to start off with. In my experience, beginner students actually find it more difficult to learn when using intermediate flutes right away. This is because they are designed for students who already have a grasp of how to play the flute and they include features such as open-holed keys, extra keys, and heavier weight. These features help more advanced students produce a more professional sound but they also make the experience of playing the flute much more challenging if you don't know the fundamentals already.


To be frank. Flute is a very difficult instrument, so 99.9% of the time, you are much better off starting with a student flute. I have written another blog with my recommendations for beginner flute models here: Best Beginner Flute Models/Brands. I also go through the various ways you can go about getting a flute in more detail in my How to Get a Beginner Flute blog post.



2. Cleaning Equipment

This one is very important but somehow, cleaning equipment is sometimes overlooked by beginner flute students. Cleaning your flute after practise sessions will keep the inside relatively moisture-free, preventing excessive deterioration of the non-metallic parts of the flute like the key pads. It will also prevent the build up of germs and mould. Overall, it will save your lungs and your money to just get in the habit of cleaning your flute.


Another advantage of keeping the instrument in good condition is that you can sell the flute for a better price in the future if you decide not to keep it.


Essential cleaning equipment you should have in your case includes a cleaning rod, cleaning gauze, and a polishing cloth. The gauze wraps around the cleaning rod and is used to wipe the inside of the flute while the polishing cloth is used on the outside of the flute to get rid of grease, dirt, and fingerprints. These tools are generally included for free when you purchase a new flute, but if you don't have any, they are available at most music stores at a very affordable price.


If you play on a plastic flute, you only need a cleaning swab or the combination of a cleaning rod and gauze.


Here are some links to the cleaning equipment:

🎻Cleaning rod - https://amzn.to/3817ZGr

🎻Cleaning gauze (inside the flute) - https://amzn.to/3y4lSOL

🎻Polishing cloth (outside the flute) - https://amzn.to/3D3SJqL

🎻Cleaning swab (for those with plastic flutes) - https://amzn.to/2YMSWiL



3. Sheet Music

The next thing you'll need is some sheet music so you can start learning flute fingerings and begin to associate them with the notes on the music.


Unless you've got prior experience in playing music and are familiar with reading music, it is best to purchase a music book tailored specifically to beginners. These books will slowly introduce players to different notes on the flute without overwhelming them.


Here are some of my go-to books that I use when teaching beginner flute players:

🎼Standard of Excellence - Book 1 (Flute) - https://amzn.to/3j7LAhf

🎼The Young Flute Player Book 1 - https://amzn.to/3mndN5A

🎼Trevor Wye Beginners Book - https://amzn.to/3mme5ty



4. Music Stand

You may be able to get away with not having a music stand if you have a piano at home and the student practises the flute sitting down. But there will come a time when students need to practise or perform standing up so it's worth it to invest in one early on. Using a music stand will also ensure that you can play with the correct posture instead of leaning in awkward positions to read music that is either too low or too high.


In my experience, it's been helpful for the student to be able to practise both sitting and standing.


Here are some options for music stands:

🎹Basic portable music stand (budget) - https://amzn.to/3gjGIUe

🎹Manhasset music stand (very sturdy) - https://amzn.to/3D63o4c

🎹Wenger music stand (very sturdy) - https://bit.ly/30K6UCv


5. Extra Accessories

Last but not least, here are some optional accessories that are useful for the student to acquire, as these can really help improve certain aspects of their flute playing.


a) The Thumbport

It's a right-hand thumb device that clips onto the bottom of your flute (under the F key) and gives you a place to rest your thumb. For young students and those who find it difficult to balance the flute on its own (especially with notes that use only one to two fingers like C or C#), this can help them balance the flute more efficiently and help them feel more secure when holding the flute.

*Photo from Flutes and Flutists


🎵Thumbport - https://flutesandflutists.com/store/p/thumbport



b) Facial absorbent/blotting paper

Condensation occurs inside the flute when you play/practise the flute. The cleaning gauze will wipe away most of the moisture inside the flute but sometimes the moisture will get onto the keypads.


Leaving the keypads wet is not ideal as your pads will wear out faster and create a noisy 'tsh tsh' sound whenever you press down on them.


Luckily this can be combatted by a very affordable product - blotting paper.


Now you can buy Yamaha's special cleaning paper that is made specifically for cleaning instrument keys, but I find facial absorbent or oil-blotting paper to be just as useful and much more affordable.


🎵Yamaha cleaning paper - https://amzn.to/3B0XzmU

🎵Oil blotting paper (budget) - https://amzn.to/3gma4RY



c)Metronome

I remember the days when I was a beginner student and had to buy a mechanical metronome for my practise. Nowadays, you can just download a metronome app onto your smartphone for free. Here are some of my favourite metronome apps that are free to download.


📱Metronome: Tempo Lite

📱Metronome by Soundbrenner



d) Pencil

It's very important to always bring a pencil to your music lessons or band rehearsals so that you can make notes on your music.



There you have it! Those are the 5 things that beginner flute students will need before they start having flute lessons.


I look forward to sharing more flute-related tips in my upcoming blog posts and wish you all the best with your flute playing journey. See you in the next blog post!




For those who've skipped ahead to the purchase list, the links are below:

🎻Cleaning Rod - https://amzn.to/3817ZGr

🎻Cleaning gauze (inside the flute) - https://amzn.to/3y4lSOL

🎻Polishing cloth (outside the flute) - https://amzn.to/3D3SJqL

🎻Cleaning swab (for those with plastic flutes) - https://amzn.to/2YMSWiL


🎼Standard of Excellence - Book 1 (Flute) - https://amzn.to/3j7LAhf

🎼The Young Flute Player Book 1 - https://amzn.to/3mndN5A

🎼Trevor Wye Beginners Book - https://amzn.to/3mme5ty


🎹Basic portable music stand (budget) - https://amzn.to/3gjGIUe

🎹Manhasset music stand (very sturdy) - https://amzn.to/3D63o4c


🎵Thumbport - https://flutesandflutists.com/store/p/thumbport


🎵Yamaha cleaning paper - https://amzn.to/3B0XzmU

🎵Oil blotting paper (budget) - https://amzn.to/3gma4RY


📱Metronome: Tempo Lite

📱Metronome by Soundbrenner




#beginnerflutestudent #beginnerflutekit

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