Best Flutes for Beginners

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

28 Models Considered
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395 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best flutes for beginners

Last Updated September 2020

The flute is a remarkably versatile instrument. In the right hands, it can play either a nimble, sprite-like passage or a warm, resonant melody. However, to get to the level of maestro, you need to start somewhere. The first flute is perhaps the most important instrument in a musician's career, as it sets the tone for everything that follows.

A flute for a beginning student needs to have features that make early success possible. Plateau style keys, for instance, make it easier for beginners to properly cover the holes in the instrument, while an offset G key may feel more natural to a musician with smaller hands. Additionally, a flute for a beginning student needs to be durable yet light enough that the performer's arms do not quickly fatigue.

To learn more about the flute and which features a beginner should look for, keep reading. If you just stopped by this page to get some recommendations for the best flutes for beginners, consider the models we've spotlighted in this article.

Ease of play is one of the most important considerations for choosing a flute for a beginner. A low-quality instrument that is difficult to play could lead to the student quitting lessons due to frustration.

Understanding the flute

In order to know what you should be looking for in a flute that is specifically designed for a beginner, it is important to first have a basic understanding of the instrument. Flutes have three sections that, when assembled, allow the performer to play a wide range of notes. These sections are the headjoint, the body, and the footjoint.

Headjoint

This is the part of the flute that the player blows across to produce a tone. It features a tuning cork, which can be used to fine tune the intonation of the flute. In some beginner flutes, the headjoint may be bent in a U shape to help younger players more easily reach the keys.

Body

This is the longest section of the flute. It contains the majority of the keys and is where you will find many of the features that distinguish the instrument as a model for beginners.

Footjoint

The shortest section of the flute is the footjoint. On student flutes, this section is called a C footjoint, and it features two keys located along the top of the instrument. A flute for a more advanced player will have three keys located along the top of the instrument. The name for this is a B footjoint.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

If you have any allergies to certain metals, such as silver or nickel, make sure you purchase a flute that is manufactured with alternative materials so you don't suffer a reaction.

Key features

Now that you know what the three sections of the flute are, it's time to look a little more closely at which features are best for a beginning player.

Plateau-style keys

A flute that is designed for beginners has plateau-style or closed-hole keys. That may sound confusing until you understand that the option for the advanced player is French or open-hole keys. On a flute with open-hole keys, there are holes at the center of the A, G, F, E and D keys that you have to cover with your fingers to make the flute work. Beginners are better off not worrying about covering those holes so they can focus on other aspects, which is why a flute featuring closed-hole keys is best for a beginner.

"Y" arms (dapped keys)

Student flutes have keys that connect to the bar via an arm that somewhat resembles a "Y". Although the pointed key arm design is a better, more durable design because it secures the key from the center instead of the side, you'll typically have to pay a good bit more to get this feature, so you won't likely find it on student flutes.

Offset G key

Since most beginners are younger in age, an offset G key is found on most beginner models. If you look at the keys of a flute without an offset G, they will all be in a straight line. The purpose of shifting the position of the G key is to make it easier for individuals with smaller hands to reach it.

Materials

There is not much of a choice in materials when purchasing a flute for a beginner. Likely, you will either get a nickel or nickel silver flute. These metals are durable and produce a rich tone but are still very lightweight. Solid silver or gold are not bad choices for any player, but those metals are usually limited to higher-end flutes, which would have other features not desirable to beginners.

Lacquered finish

If you'd like to express your personality with a colored instrument, many lower-end flutes for beginners allow you to choose a vibrant lacquer color such as purple, blue, red, turquoise, pink, or green. If this is appealing to you, you're in luck because these models will likely only cost around $100.

DID YOU KNOW?

The earliest flutes date back 35,000 to 43,000 years and were carved from animal bones.

Accessories

There are only a few accessories a beginning flute player may need.

Cleaning kit: Yamaha Flute Maintenance Kit
When you purchase your first flute, you will get a case and a cleaning rod, but there are a few other items you will need to take proper care of your new instrument. Yamaha's Flute Maintenance Kit has an assortment of cloths and cleaning tools that can help you keep your instrument in prime condition.

Music stand: GLEAM Music Stand
You cannot play your flute properly if you have to look down at your music because it is on the kitchen table. A stand is not only convenient, it is essential to help develop good playing posture. GLEAM's fully adjustable music stand is an affordable unit that will help you learn to be your best.

Instrument stand: MAGGIFT Tripod Stand
Any time you set your flute down, it is a risk. MAGGIFT's Tripod Stand provides a place to put your flute when you are not holding it. An extremely portable item, it quickly folds to about the size of your hand, making it easy to take with you wherever you practice or perform.

Flutes for beginners: prices

Flutes for beginning students can range from under $100 to $1,000 or more. With such a wide range, it is important to know what to look for at each level.

Inexpensive: A flute that is less than $200 can be a smart and affordable way to supply your student with an instrument. However, at this low level, you need to be sure the quality is high enough that the instrument won't inhibit the beginner from learning how to play.

Mid-range: From $200 to $500, you are getting into a decent range of instruments. At the top end of this bracket, most instruments will be sufficient for a beginning student, offering a durable nickel silver construction with plateau-style keys and an offset G key.

Higher end: From roughly $700 to $1,000, you will find flutes for beginning students who are a little more serious and want a higher-quality instrument. If it is in your budget and you are an older student, this would be the price range to consider. Younger students are probably better off looking in the middle range.

CAUTION

It takes a great deal of air to play the flute. Because of this, beginning students may get dizzy when practicing. If this happens, immediately stop and sit down to help prevent the possibility of fainting.

Tips

A flute is a delicate instrument that needs care and regular maintenance in order to function at its peak. Following are a few tips to help you get the most out of your instrument.

  • Be careful not to squeeze the keys when assembling or disassembling your flute, as this may damage the instrument's delicate mechanisms.
  • Floss, brush, and rinse your teeth and mouth before playing. Transferring things like sugar to the inside of your instrument can be very damaging.
  • Always swab out the inside of your flute. Using the included cleaning rod and a soft cloth, carefully swab the moisture out of the inside of your instrument after playing. (Alternatively, you can dry the headjoint of your flute by using a special headjoint swab, which may be a safer way of cleaning for some younger players.)
  • Use a polishing cloth to gently wipe away fingerprints on the instrument. Be careful not to use too much pressure, as the mechanisms of your keys can easily be bent and damaged.
  • Grease, vaseline, and other lubricants will collect grime and can damage the finish of the instrument. Do not use them.
  • Never leave your flute resting upside down on its keys, as this can damage them. It also encourages moisture to drip on the keypads, which can ruin them.
  • Do not try to dry your pads by sliding any kind of material across them, as this may tear the thin protective outer cover and ruin them.
  • Check your flute before playing to make sure there are no screws coming loose and sticking out.
  • When you are not playing, the safest place for your flute is in its case.
  • The flute case is only for the flute. Other items, such as folded-up music, can apply pressure to the instrument's delicate mechanisms and damage them. It is also not advisable to store damp cleaning cloths inside your case.
Be careful not to equate lower prices with beginner models. The best beginner flutes are quality instruments.

FAQ

Q. What makes a flute for a beginner different from other flutes?
A.
The two key features of a beginners’ flute: the instrument is designed to achieve early success, and it is built to better withstand some minor mishandling. The same features that make a flute easier to play, however, also limit its functionality. This is why, as the student progresses, he or she will eventually need to purchase a step-up instrument. An intermediate flute is more difficult to play, but it offers a far greater means of expression.
 

Q. What is a curved headjoint flute ?
A.
If a beginning flute student is very young, he or she may have difficulty reaching the keys that are farthest away. To facilitate proper finger and hand position, some flutes feature a headjoint (the piece that you blow across) that is curved so the child will not need to reach so far to place fingers on keys.
 

Q. What is intonation?
A.
Intonation is a little tricky. Until a student develops a good ear, he or she will not be able to tell the difference between good and bad intonation. Essentially, intonation is a flute's ability to stay in tune with itself. A low-quality flute may have such poor intonation that melodies do not sound right. This can be damaging to a beginner because he or she will learn pitches incorrectly, which will create a number of problems down the road if the student wishes to pursue music more seriously.

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