These are various types of questions that I have received, & you may even have one of the same.
What type of flute should I buy?
First & foremost, it all depends on your level of playing, & how much you want to succeed... & of course, $$money$$!! For beginner/junior high level, I suggest a used nickel plated flute from name brands like Yamaha, Jupiter, Gemeinhardt, & the lesser known Trevor James flutes. Intermediate students (7th-9th grade) usually upgrade to open hole/B-foot silver plated or sterling silver flutes that start around $1000, such as brands mentioned in the next question.
I need to get a new flute, but I don't know what kind to get.
Although the most popular brands found in music stores tend to be those of Yamaha & Gemeinhardt, there are many more flutes to choose from that many people aren't as familiar with. It is interesting to note that the variety has changed considerably in the last several years! Here is a sample list of intermediate flutes with professional features at affordable prices under $3000. Please note these are only approximate prices & are subject to change & vary from location. This list is only intended to serve as a guide. How do you know what kind of brand to pick? It's very similar to car shopping... test drive several, & see which one fits you best!! You can find more information at www.flute4u.com, &/or the flute maker websites.
Lyric - 1-B - $1100
Sonare - SF 5000 - $1100
Emerson - EF8B - $1200
Jupiter diMedici - Model 911 - $1200
Amadeus - AF 600 - $1200
Lyric - 1-BP - $1400
Jupiter diMedici - Model 1211 - $1600
Lyric - 2-B - $1700
Sonare - SF 6000 - $1700
Jupiter diMedici - Model 1011 - $1900
Amadeus - AF 700 - $1900
Amadeus - AF 800 - $2000
Altus - Model 807 - $2100
Miyazawa - PA 102 - $2200
Sonare - SF 7000 - $2300
Jupiter diMedici - Model 1311 - $2300
Lyric - 2-BP - $2300
Prima Sankyo - Etude Model 201 - $2500
Muramatsu - EX Model - $2800
Miyazawa - PA 202 - $2900
Avanti - *new*
Do I need to audition for your studio, or be 1 of the top players in my school band?
No, I don't require a student to "audition" for me. I have worked with many students of different playing levels & ages for years. It typically takes time to develop a musical & personal relationship with a student, & 1 lesson is not enough time to assess what musical goals we can accomplish. However, I do expect & encourage students to be goal oriented, whether it's to improve on fundamentals, move up in the school band program, earn a Division I on UIL solos, &/or do well in TMEA region band auditions.
How long should my lesson be?
Typically, middle school students take 20-30 minute lessons. I only do 20 minute lessons in 6th grade &/or if the class time only allows for 2 20-minute lessons. Otherwise, I highly encourage 30 minutes for middle school. For high school, lessons are either 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or hour long lessons. It is highly advisable for motivated students that want to do well in TMEA auditions to take 45-minute or hour long lessons.
Do I have to work on the TMEA Region Band music?
Unless the school band requires it, no, I don't require students to work on the TMEA music unless they feel it will benefit them, especially younger high school players. However, I would like to work on other etudes that are at the student's level.
My child is only 5 years old & wants to learn flute. Can he/she learn?
While most beginner students start around 6th grade (11 years old), willing younger students can learn as well. However, for smaller children, you would definitely want to look at the Prodigy flute by Jupiter, which is sized down considerably. Slightly older children younger than 11 can play on full size flutes, but it is recommended to get a flute that has a curved & a straight headjoint & play on the curved headjoint until the child's arms are long enough to reach with the straight headjoint. It is my personal recommendation for very young children to start on piano to develop good basic music skills, & then start the flute a few years later (ie, 8-10 years old).
Why do you play so many instruments?
Even though my first choice was flute, I was always interested in playing other instruments. I could never play just one!! It was a great deal of extra work learning how to play other woodwinds well, but it did give me a nice distraction from flute. It has also helped me become more informed as to how these other instruments function. Playing other instruments has given me a very good idea on how to play with players of these instruments, particularly the oboe, since flute players sit so close them. For students wanting to double on flute & another instrument (or vice versa), there is little problem with that, especially if the player has started on piano. However, if a player does want to become very proficient on an instrument at a particular level (ie, All-State, college music major), it is advised to focus on that instrument as much as possible. For more on this topic, please read the last question below.
I really like the piccolo! When can I play it?
Piccolo is recommended for more advanced players who can tune to others well, & most players who do play it typically start in high school. Occasionally, junior high students can pick it up quite easily. It is not for everyone though, & some players are better suited for flute than piccolo. There are also some players that find their niche on piccolo, but it is highly advised to keep up their flute playing as well.
I'd like to buy my own piccolo. How much are they?
Most piccolos are cheaper than flutes, but it also helps to get one that suits your needs & price range. If you are serious about the piccolo, it is highly recommended to get one that is made of wood or plastic/resin composite, as silver piccolos are more ideal for outdoor playing because of their brighter sound. There are also other models with a silver headjoint & plastic body.
Jupiter 303, 303, 305 - $500
Emerson Model EP3 (plastic) - $700
Sonare (composite) - $700
Emerson Model EP6 (wood) - $1300
Emerson Boston Legacy (wood) - $1900
Hammig - over $2000
I don't have a metronome or I don't know how to use it.
In this day & age of computers, there now is no excuse to not have access to a metronome at home, even if you don't own one, can't find yours, or you "left it at school"! PLEASE take advantage of the Metronome Online website! If you're not sure how to use it, be sure to ask myself or your band director. They can be used by players of any level, & are really quite simple to use.
I currently play another wind instrument, but I am interested in the flute OR I want to keep playing the flute, but I would like to play another instrument. Is it possible to play flute along with another instrument?
Absolutely... but please read. I was a student that was constantly trying other instruments out, & I have found that some students that have the will & curiosity can often do quite well on 2, & sometimes 3 or 4 other instruments, although they should ideally be kept in the same instrument family (woodwinds). Playing flute & a brass instrument is possible, although it will affect the flute embouchure even more than the woodwinds. Piano & strings, however, won't affect flute embouchure obviously. However, please keep in mind your level of playing will only get so high & has a great deal with how much practice you put into one. If you would like to get moderately good on 2 or 3 instruments (ie, a jazz player who plays clarinet, saxophone, & flute), that is definitely within reach. However, most players can't expect to become equally proficient on too many instruments (ie, All-State level), as it can be too demanding on factors such as embouchure, reeds, music, & such. Unfortunately, players who are serious about pursuing the orchestral route should keep in mind that he/she should concentrate on one instrument in college.
With all this said, even at the high school level, it is still very possible to become very, & sometimes even equally proficient on 2 instruments. For instance, if the student wants to play flute in concert band & saxophone in jazz band (& sometimes pit orchestra for musical productions), this can be done quite easily as long as both instruments are practiced enough. If the student is certain he/she would like to be a band director, it is certainly encouraged to start learning the other instruments as soon as possible! It will also give the student a good idea if they would like to pursue that as a major. Any other questions related to this topic, feel free to ask! I am well rehearsed in this department because at one point, I had become equally proficient on flute & oboe. Through my years of teaching, I have found out that this desire & ability to play multiple instruments is NOT typical, & I eventually had to choose between the 2 instruments.
Many more to come!