If you have a child who is wanting to learn to play the flute, you might find it a little confusing with all of the choices and price ranges available. A student flute should not be chosen from the price range, but rather from a brand name that you recognize and trust. A lower priced student flute might be tempting but they are usually not the best choice for your beginner. If you are not familiar with trusted brands of flute makers, ask the music teacher or band director at your school for some guidance.
The concert flute, also known as the C flute, is probably the best known flute across the world. It is also the best choice when picking a flute for the beginner to learn to play on. Let’s look at some good possibilities for your student flute.
Shown above: LJ Hutchen Silver C Flute with Case
I played a flute for several years growing up. I started at 11 I think and kept at it for a few years. It was a real challenge. It forced me to be conscious about my breathing, something that was always a weakness of mine. However, I did learn to control my breathing and read music and move the keys. I learned for a few years and quit only when I moved on to choir singing. The advantage of singing is obvious I think: you always have your voice with you.
Still, the sound of the flute is something special to me still. I always loved its sound, and that’s probably what helped me stay at it for several years. I’ve collected some flutes here for beginner players, like me. After all these years I still think of myself as a beginner.
On this page I’ve reviewed the four types of flute people are tempted to consider when buying their first student flute. Let my start by saying: don’t buy a colored flute. They’re just not made for beginner players. They will teach your child the wrong kinds of holding the flute and the technique of blowing will also not be learned correctly.
What you’ll need to have on the flute you select
Open vs Closed holes
Open holes will only make the playing harder for a beginner. The teacher will know when they’re ready for the advantages of open holes. They’re also silver plated and come in a hard box for safe traveling. The keys have pads on the inside so the opening and closing will make minimal sound.
A student flute has closed holes. I never moved on to open holes: they make for a more fluent transition between notes, but are harder to control.
Other than that: a quality flute has a better sound.
I made my selection based simply on what’s available at amazon and in that mix I only included the ones that had many ratings: good or bad. Another route is to ask your teacher for advice or your local music shop, if there is one.
Choosing your student flute: some recommendations
Comparing Suzuki, Gemeinhardt and LJ Hutchen reviews
There are three flutes that are sold at beginner’s prices, with closed holes, a LOT on amazon.
One is the Suzuki. I’m partial to it, because I learned to play on a Suzuki myself. However, it has very mixed reviews. Apparently in many cases it’s just not all that durable. It does come however with a 2 year warranty, so loose keys should be quickly fixed for no extra price.
The other is the Gemeinhardt. It is just a tad bit more expensive, but sometimes you get what you payed for. In this case: a flute that will need less repairs and therefore less annoyance.
The third option is perhaps the best. LJ Hutchen prides themselves on their great customer service. A broken flute will just be returned and a replacement brought in. Based on the customer reviews: this is the one I’d be buying.
The fourth option are the fancy looking, but cheap, colored flutes. They look cute, but for a beginner they are just not right. To compensate for some of their deficiencies, a student will learn the wrong playing habits. So don’t buy one of those till you have a performance that requires them.
What you’ll need to have on the flute you select
All the flutes I show here have:
- Closed holes. Open holes will only make the playing harder for a beginner. The teacher will know when they’re ready for the advantages of open holes.
- Are silver plated, though some of the cheaper flutes are nickel plated.
- Come in a hard box for safe traveling.
- Have pads on the inside of the keys so opening and closing them will make minimal sound.
LJ Hutchen Silver C Flute with Case: best seller here
- Silver plated body and keys
- Gold plated crown
- Double-bladder, Prestini style pads for durable and consistent performance
- Extra care give to joint fittings
- Includes a flute cleaning rod, plush lined hard shell case
The customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive – and it’s clear from the reviews that it’s true what the company says: if there’s something wrong with the flute, they’ll give you a new one no questions asked.
More on the LJ Hutchen Silver C Flute
As I said: I played a Suzuki flute for years, without any trouble. Not that I gave it a lot of wear: I tend to be very careful with my things. Still, I don’t remember it ever having to go to maintenance and I do remember dropping it a few times. I’m sure in the end it had a dent or two.
- Key Of C Deluxe Flute Outfit, Everything Included
- Deluxe, Lightweight Aluminum “ROADIE” Style Case With Foam Fittings
- Accessories: Cleaning Rod, Tenon Grease, Polishing Cloth, Care, Maintenance & Assembly Guide
- High Grade Silver Plated Head Joint, Body And Keys With Beveled Undercut Blowhole And Accurate Chimney Placement
- Rich, Warm Sound With Excellent Intonation In All Registers
- 2-Year Warranty (which should be a comfort for those who read the negative customer reviews)
Popular Choice Of Student Flute By Educators
Gemeinhardt 2SP Silver Plated Flute Outfit
This particular model of flute is often recommended by music teachers and music stores when asked about the best flute for the student flutist. It has proven reliable for decades with quality craftmanship.
Gemeinhardt comes from a long line of flute makers. The present day company began with Kurt Kemeinhardt being persuaded to come to Elkhart, Indiana in 1928 to create his instruments. After 20 years, he decided to start his own manufacturing facility.
A plateau model (closed keys) with professionally padded keys the flute has a triple silver plate finish with stainless steel springs. It has an offset G key.
At What Age Should You Begin To Play The Flute?
The flute is one of the most popular musical instruments for both listening to and learning to play. Is there a good age to begin learning? Actually there is. Obviously an adult can learn at any age. What about children?
In the United States it is common to begin with children when they reach the 4th or 5th grade level in elementary school. Part of that is due to the necessity for the student to be able to reach the keys without straining their neck or hands while playing the instrument. Typically, by the time a child reaches the 4th grade they are physically developed to begin flute lessons. That fits with the age I was when I graduated from the recorder as well: I was about 10.
Curved or straight?
Curved flutes have been around in different forms for a long time and can be a good way for a petite player to get started.
The pitch of the instrument is effected by it’s ‘speaking length’. How it gets to that length; straight, curved even zig-zag, does not effect the pitch , though it can have a small effect on the timbre or colour of the sound produced.
Conclusion: get the flute that fits your (or your child’s) size, and if that means it needs to be curved, that is not a problem. In the end it’s the length of the metal tube that matters for the tone, not the shape. Similarly trombones and trumpets have wrapped up coils in their design – it gives them a longer ‘speaking length’.
Jupiter Student Flute
Jupiter Plateau Offset G Silver-Plated Flute 511S
This is a good choice for a student flute because even if the child is physically developed enough to reach the keys they can use the curved headpiece for a while until they get used to playing the flute and the finger positions for notes.
This flute is silver plated with a high nickel content which gives a rich sound for a student flute. It has plateau keys and comes with a curved and straight head and includes a case.
Pearl is probably better known for its percussion instruments than for flutes. For several decades they have been producing flutes with innovative methods that are really suited well for the student flutist and mid-range flutes. They are highly regarded for the use of French Point keywork and the pinless mechanisms for the keys which are less likely to snap clothing and allow moisture inside the flute.
Other considerations for choosing a beginner flute
Some people will tell you to get a cheap flute, don’t worry about the sound. Well, if you think a beginner player doesn’t care about the sound – then think again. If they have any musical sense at all, they’re going to appreciate a well sounding flute. Don’t be cheap unless you don’t have the budget.
Get your child that silver plated flute that has a decent sound to start with. A decent flute will sound good even on that first note. Which is also less of an annoyance in the house. It will reward your child for proper technique by giving a better sound too.
Don’t get a piccolo. These are small flutes, but very hard to play. An ordinary C flute may look too big for your child’s hands, but it is easier to deal with.
Standard Flute By Yamaha
Yamaha is well known for its manufacture of musical instruments. It is also a brand that comes highly recommended by music teachers for a student flute. Music teachers like them because the open sound that it produces and the ease of playing that it provides a student. One of their recent improvements is the post design that is stronger and prevents the posts from being bent.
Members of the Flute Family
Did you know that a flute is not just a flute? There are different types of flutes that produce different sounds. The members of the flute family include:
- E flat
- concert or C
Buying a flute for a 2nd year flute player
When your kid wants to play the flute, you may wonder if it’s worth the money to buy one. However, many rental flutes cost as much for the year as it would to buy one.
A 2nd year flute player has already proved to you that they’re serious about the instrument. You can still not be certain they’ll continue playing for the rest of their lives, but at least the interest is real.
Still, a second year flutist is a beginner player. Unless their teacher tells you otherwise, don’t assume on their genius. So – get them a silver plated flute. Unlike the nickel ones it will look good at performances, but won’t burn too big a hole in your pocket either. The silver plated flutes sound beautiful, so you’re not undercutting yourself or them by getting one.
Suggested For Children Under 7 Years Of Age
A younger child will have difficulty reaching the keys of a standard flute. The best solution is to have them begin on a flute recorder. It is played in front of the body instead of at the side and this makes it easier for a child to learn the fingering of the notes while they learn to read music and control their breath for playing an instrument.
Do go for a wooden flute: the sound is so much nicer. This one has an ergonomically designed build, for ease of use.
A reader says:
You are absolutely right about the sound being important to a beginner. I am a trained flutist and have taught lessons off and on for several years.
A beginner flutist needs to be capable of creating a good sound when they are playing properly. If they are doing their best, and doing what their teacher tells them, it can be terribly discouraging when it doesn’t sound good. The last thing you want is for the student to give up.
If a more experienced person was to play it, like the teacher, the flute definitely should sound good on the first note. You are right about that.
That being said, the student may not sound fantastic on the first note, but that’s ok. That’s why they’re learning.
Another suggestion I might make for purchasing a new student flute: Go to the local music repair shop and ask them which brands they can repair. Many overseas brands are impossible to repair because they don’t import parts for them. Instruments are precision machines and need work from time to time. You don’t want to buy a whole new flute just because a part is broken. Your inexpensive flute ends up being more costly in the long run.