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The flute is a common instrument found in many orchestras and ensembles today. It is also commonly used as a solo instrument. It has basically stayed the same general shape and sound for thousands of years. You hear flute in many different genres of music from classical to jazz to popular to experimental.


The flute is one of the oldest instruments in the world. Hollow animal bones with holes in them have been found and dated to over 35,000 years ago! The flute has been played much like a recorder (straight down in front) to a transverse style (parallel to the ground). Almost every ancient civilization has had evidence of bone flutes from Slovenia, Germany, China, and the Native Americans in North and South America. It was mainly just a mouth hole and a straight bore instrument with holes up until the 1800’s when Theobald Boehm was making metal flutes with spring loaded keys. This is where the modern flute took shape and is still used today.


Most individuals will start playing the flute at an early age, an age when they can cover the holes and can properly hold the flute. With the length of the flute, some people smaller in stature may find it difficult to reach to the far end of the flute (foot joint). Some manufacturers have remedied this by curving the head (where you blow) 180 degrees to shorten the length. These flutes play the same as their straight counterpart but make it a little easier for the smaller beginner. Beginner flutes also have closed hole finger buttons as intermediate and advanced are open hole flutes. Open hole flutes allow more sound to come from the flute.


Dean Yang, Yamaha, Muramatsu, Miyazawa, Pearl, Powell, Jupiter, Gemeinhardt, Armstrong, Haynes, Brio, Trevor James and Sonare are several brands that are beginner to professional level instruments. These can be found new AND used in most music stores. Be careful when purchasing a used flute as they may appear beautiful and clean, they may leak which is quite frustrating for the beginner flute student who may not recognize when there is a problem with the flute. Have a professional look at the flute you are interested in purchasing!


Theobald Boehm, Ian Clarke, Louis Fleury, James Galway, Greg Pattillo, Stephen Preston, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Eric Dolphy, Joe Farrell, Roland Kirk, Herbie Mann, Bobby Militello, James Moody, David “Fathead” Newman, Bud Shank, Danilo Caymmi, Michael Flatley, Ian Anderson, Peter Gabriel, Ann Wilson, Chris Wood are cross-genre flute players that can easily be found on the internet.


Learning the different styles and types of flutes will allow any of the beginning flute methods and instruction to grow into fruition. They all start with the basics of the flute and the technique and style are the differences between each genre. Check out the flute on the Internet! www.nfaonline.org

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