Best Flute Forward

Advanced Technique, Performance Questions, Auditions, Recording, etc.

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Best Flute Forward

Post by Soupy1957 »

Hello gang!
It’s been a while since I’ve put anything in here and I’m not sure if any of you will take the time to respond, but I will try to pose the question and see what happens.

If you look back on my information you’ll discover that I started playing the flute at 62 years of age in 2018. I have a personal goal of playing on the stage of Carnegie Hall by the time I am 72. Currently I am performing (and I use that term “tongue in cheek”) in a praise group in my local church. I’m getting good reviews and people are asking for more.

One thing I’m learning, along with learning how to play, how to play well and how to play properly and so forth, is about the character of my flutes. Each one is different.

The first flute that I purchased (From a local reputable woodwind dealer) is a real workhorse with closed holes and a short foot. I like using it when I’m playing blues or some hard driving jazz.

The second flute I bought (online), is a open hole flute with a lot of character. It tends to be the flute that I go to most often, when I don’t wanna overblow a note. It’s not a Powell and it’s not a Haynes and it’s not a other well-known brand, but I took it over to the woodwind shop and he tweaked it for me, and it really does sound great.

The third flute was purchased from a music store. It has a Haynes head joint, and a lesser known body. Both it and the second flute have the longer foot joints. This one I tend to overblow. It takes much more discipline and if I reserve some of my air, the note doesn’t come through as strongly. So I end up in a trade off.

So my question has to do with my desire to put most of my energy towards the more expensive flute in the batch, (perhaps to justify its existence). It’s not a $10,000 flute, but it’s not a cheap flute either.

I practice roughly anywhere from an hour to two hours per day, and I’m usually working on next weeks praise songs; or sometimes I’ll flip on some CDs and play along or I’ll put on SiriusXM radio and listen to “watercolors” and play smooth jazz for a while; but I keep busy on the flute; I keep learning; I keep trying; I keep hopefully improving. I am playing improvisationally.

During all this practice time, I try to use all three flutes. Sometimes one flute is better than another on a given song; because of its personality; it’s sound; it’s easy playability, or all three of those things.

I’m assuming that the more expensive of the three flutes is the one that I really should focus on, because it is going to be the one that is the least forgiving. It expects me to do more. It expects me to improve; to somehow earn the right to play it in a performance setting.

It’s too easy to just say, “if that’s the one you like to play; then play that one.” I’d like to talk about how you choose, depending on the challenge you want to put before yourself, especially in a performance. I tend to fall back on the second flute that I mentioned; because it is more forgiving, and I’m less likely to overblow it.

A penny for your thoughts…….
Music in all forms, meets the hearts of all mankind.

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Re: Best Flute Forward

Post by stutrumpet73 »

Hi Soupy,

I started on flute last November when I hit 73 so you're just a mere 'youngster' :-)
I started with a VERY cheap TJ10x (cost off Ebay £50/$55) then swapped this on Ebay for a Yamaha 211 (£110/$120). Thought that was a LOT to pay - silly me!

I was/am a trumpet player - ex-pro - so had all the musical background. I used Youtube and Flute for Dummies to get started. Nine months on I have joined to flute groups, had a few pro lessons and feel I am confidently Grade 5 but sometimes can play more difficult pieces.

Whilst on holiday near a large woodwind warehouse I paid a visit to try out step-up flutes and basically now understand that the temptation to buy, say, a TJ solid silver model for £1700/$2000 should be resisted in favour of the bottom end of a pro range like the Altus 807.

I think going upwards from the Altus or similar hand-finished range will need my playing to far exceed Grade 8. 2 years on from your post I would be interested in your experiences?


Stewart (UK)

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