I play clarinet and percussion (mostly keyboard percussion <insert joke about most percussionists being unable to read music here>) so the flute world is a bit of a new area for me.
I have a daughter entering 6th grade who plays flute. She plays for band at school, will be doing jazz band this year, and also takes private lessons. She also intends on trying out for our area youth symphony orchestra in the spring. She is naturally talented, hard working, and is currently at an upper high school skill level in most areas. She's currently working on memorizing all 12 major scales and I think minors are next? Perfecting technique is ongoing as it should be.
I purchased her current flute off of Ebay for $40 because school rental was $32 and her older sister hated band so I payed what amounted to a month rent fee to even see if she'd like it the first year she played. Because it was a cheap flute, it is either nickel or very poorly plated because her mouth has an allergic reaction to playing. We covered the lip plate with clear medical tape so she could play. Between that and Vasoline after playing, she kept the skin reaction under control. Haven't noticed a skin reaction on her fingers from the body/foot of the flute.
But now since we're looking at youth symphony and at the level she plays plus her allergy...it'd been decided that moving her to a semi professional to professional level flute may be a good move as she intends on playing beyond high school. She gave up poms to focus on flute which is a huge deal for her so I'm certain she's in it for the long haul. I'm looking for recommendations and she has some requirements:
1- Used is fine. Well kept vintage is great. I played on a vintage Proufer Silver Throat clarinet throughout middle and high school and it was an amazing, gorgeous sound. Currently I'm refurbishing a WWII-era wood clarinet to play on. Love the vintage instruments. And she wants a flute that will give a good solid tone when played but she'll still be able to have flexibility between warm and airy tone, for instance.
2- I'm unsure how she's react to anything but silver or a higher karat gold for the lip plate so I'd rather stick to actual silver with the silver amount minimum at sterling silver level. I know there is a GS alloy but I don't know much beyond the fact that it exists. But as I don't play, I don't know which is best for a good flute sound so let me know what I should be looking at material wise.
3- She currently plays closed holed since she has a cheap student flute. I know she's going to move into open hole territory and it's something she's nervous about. She says she thinks her fingers are too small for open hole. Any tips for her or ways she can get over that hesitancy to play on an open hole?
4- Inline or offset? Her current flute is inline and being inline isn't affecting her playing as far as I know but if there's an advantage to being offset, let me know. If it's merely a player preference, then I won't worry much about whether it is or not.