Reviewing What's in my Flute Case (gadgets, essentials and more)
Hello fluters! Welcome back to another blog post. Today I'll be sharing with you the staple things I keep in my flute case. Beginner-intermediate flute students definitely don't have to acquire all these accessories that I have as I've spend over a decade collecting them but it's useful to know that they exist in case you ever need them for something.
I play on an Altus flute and a Burkart piccolo with a Mancke Headjoint.
🎷Altus Flutes - https://www.altusflutes.com/
🎷Burkart Flutes and Piccolos - https://www.burkart.com/
🎷Mancke Headjoints - https://mancke.com/
I use a BAM Case for Flute and Piccolo as I like to carry both instruments with me. Gone are the days where I accidentally show up to rehearsal without the correct instrument. This flute case is larger than your traditional flute case as you can carry it as a backpack. There is an external back pocket with space for you to fit in some sheet music, but I've found that you can't really fit anything that is larger than an A4 size (lots of music books are printed in a size slightly bigger than A4). You can also store a foldable music stand in a side compartment inside the case (BAM provides a soft protective pouch for your stand) but I use the compartment to store some other accessories. The foam on the inside of the case moulded to the shape of my instruments as I stored them in the case. Despite BAM having a reputation for being shock-proof and very protective, I would still handle your instruments with care even if they are in a case (and definitely do not check your flute underneath a plane in this case - it is not airplane-proof!) Overall in terms of shape and functionality, the BAM case is currently my most preferred design, however here are some other common cases that flutists use if you're looking to upgrade your carry case:
🎻BAM Case for Flute and Piccolo for B-Foot - https://ebay.us/rgJZ9U
🎻PROTEC Flute and Piccolo Combination Pro Pac Case - https://amzn.to/3DMuHjz
🎻Wiseman Single/Double Flute Case - https://wisemanlondon.com/product/blue-blouse/
🎵Bag tag (similar one) - https://amzn.to/3Fwar7u
The bag tag on my flute case is one that I bought from Oroton but unfortunately the exact design isn't available for sale anymore. Don't worry, any bag tag will work just as great - the main purpose of the bag tag is to include your contact details in the event that you accidentally misplace your flute somewhere (praying that it doesn't happen to anyone!)
I go over the importance of cleaning your instrument regularly after each practice session at length in my other blog posts, so I'm going to just keep it short here - make sure you have adequate cleaning equipment for your flute! The alternative is an instrument that ends up becoming the perfect environment for mould to grow and requiring more frequent repairs. A wooden cleaning rod is preferred as there is less chance that you'll scratch your flute when wiping away the moisture inside the instrument with cleaning gauze wrapped around the rod. A polishing cloth is needed for wiping away dirt and fingerprints to to prevent the buildup of excessive oils on your flute, which can cause your flute to become stuck at the joints. Cleaning paper or oil blotting paper is useful for absorbing the moisture on your keypads to help elongate their lifespan and to reduce sticky keys.
✨Wooden cleaning rod - https://amzn.to/3817ZGr
✨Cleaning gauze - https://amzn.to/3y4lSOL
✨Polishing cloth - https://flutesandflutists.com/store/p...
✨Polishing cloth (budget) - https://amzn.to/3D3SJqL
✨Yamaha cleaning paper - https://amzn.to/3B0XzmU
✨Oil blotting paper (budget) or tally ho - https://amzn.to/3gma4RY
The tuner machine I use is the Korg TM-60 and I do recommend that all intermediate-advanced flute students to own a separate tuning machine. This is because in my experience, although useful for when you need a quick check, tuning apps aren't always the most accurate in picking up high frequencies. This is why I've found the Korg TM-60 machine (and most tuning machines by Korg) to be much more reliable at detecting the high-frequency pitches of the flute and piccolo. The tuning machine also has a metronome mode so it doubles as a metronome as well.
✨Korg TM-60 Tuner/Metronome machine - https://amzn.to/3BwFZaU
For intermediate-advanced players, earplugs are considered an essential once you start doing regular practice in the third and fourth octaves of the flute or piccolo. Especially if you are practising in a small boxy practice room, it is very important to acquire some earplugs to protect your ears from hearing damage (it's a real thing amongst classical musicians!)
If you would like to invest in earplugs once and never have to worry about them again, consider getting custom-moulded ear plugs that take off around 10 decibels of noise - you can hear so much more compared to using the cheap foam ones (please don't use these for music-playing). You'll need to make an appointment at an audiologist clinic to get this type of earplugs. They pour a liquid down your ear which hardens into a mould, then they make the earplugs based on your personal ear shape.
If you're on a budget, I got through my entire university music degree on these high-fidelity (Christmas-tree-shaped) earplugs. They take off some decibels, though not as many as the custom-moulded ones, so they give you some protection whilst still allowing you to hear your surroundings clearly.
✨High-fidelity earplugs - https://amzn.to/3oJfITh
This was something I only discovered very recently - using tape to secure your grip on the head joint! The last thing you want happening in an hour-long recital or 40-minute exam is for your chin and lips to start slipping off the head joint. It can be an incredibly distressing experience to hear yourself lose control (trust me, I've been there during a humid QLD summer recital).
Washi tape has been an excellent and inexpensive way to combat this as it soaks up the moisture between your chin and the head joint. You can also put washi tape on the contact points of the flute to help your fingers balance it more securely. You will need to replace the tape once it is saturated as it will slip off your head joint very easily without leaving any residue. If you're expecting to play a full-length recital on a hot day, I would recommend something a little more heavy-duty like micropore tape, as there is a chance that washi tape won't last you very far if you sweat profusely. Micropore tape will leave a slight residue when you try to peel it off, so make sure you soak the tape through with some water beforehand.
✨Washi tape - https://amzn.to/3FxCp2M
✨Micropore tape - https://ebay.us/37K5iQ
If you play a wooden piccolo, you will most probably need cork grease to lubricate the cork on the body of the piccolo. La Tromba Cork Grease is a favourite among brass and woodwind musicians. The grease doesn't dry out too quickly and melts very easily with the warmth of your fingers. Overall, it's worked very well for keeping the connection parts of my piccolo well lubricated. It's important to keep those parts of your instruments lubricated to ensure an easy and gentle assembly process. If you need to use more force to assemble the instrument because the joints aren't well-lubricated, you might accidentally cause some damage to your instrument.
✨Cork grease - https://amzn.to/3AqA1Hj
I've found this Valentino Piccolo Wand to be so convenient in inside my piccolo. It can get very finicky trying to wrap a small piece of gauze onto a small cleaning rod multiple times because the piccolo is so small. Being able to just push the cleaning wand through your piccolo is much easier, especially when you need to do a quick swab during orchestra rehearsals/concerts. Having water in stuck in the keys is so much more detrimental on the piccolo than it is on flute, so most professional piccolo players like to swab their piccolo quite often as they're playing. The fabric on this wand is also very compact, so it doesn't take up much space in your case.
✨Valentino Piccolo Wand - https://flutesandflutists.com/store/p...
✨Piccolo cleaning wand (budget) - https://amzn.to/3DrzYN8