Updated: Apr 3
If your child is showing an interest in flute lessons but you're not sure where to start, we can help! Here is a list of frequently asked questions, which includes some pointers on purchasing your first flute and what to expect when you
sign your child up for lessons, written by our flute teacher Emily Harrington.
1. How old does my child need to be to start lessons?
Many students will start the flute in 4th or 5th grade when they join band for the first time, but I have had students start as young as 6 years old. As long as they can be attentive and comfortably hold a flute, they can begin playing! If you're still not sure, you can take a lesson before fully committing.
2. Where should I purchase an instrument? How do I know what to look for?
The quality of the instrument is essential, especially for a beginner. The best way to shop for a new instrument is to consult with your private teacher.
The first thing to do is set a budget so your private teacher can give recommendations within that budget. Beginner level flutes are available in a large range of prices and buying used at a discounted price is a viable option.
If you’re not ready to commit to buying an instrument, renting from music stores is also a great option. This should be discussed with your private teacher so they can offer assistance in finding the best quality instrument.
Younger students with shorter arms may have some difficulty holding a standard-sized flute properly, but there are several options for smaller students! One of my favorites is the Jupiter waveline flute that has a “wave” in the body of the flute to make it shorter in length. This doesn’t affect the playability of the instrument and makes it easier for smaller students to reach.
There are also curved headjoints that are similar to the waveline flute.
It is very important to avoid purchasing flutes from ebay, amazon, craigslist, or flutes that don’t have a brand name. The same goes for colorful flutes, which are popular with beginner musicians. These flutes are extremely poor quality and the students that play them have an incredibly difficult time progressing in lessons and their ability to make sound. As stated before, it is essential to consult with your private teacher prior to making a purchase.
3. What other costs can I expect from private lessons?
Aside from the rate of lessons and the initial purchase or rental of a flute, you can expect to purchase other materials such as flute books, a metronome and tuner for practicing, a cleaning swab and cloth, and a music stand. Additionally, there may be future expenses such as the occasional piece of sheet music or flute books as the student advances.
4. What can I expect from private lessons? How does my child need to prepare?
Learning an instrument and taking lessons are a great way to unlock your child’s creativity while simultaneously creating structured habits. Lessons will be spent performing homework assignments from the prior week, reviewing how to read music, learning new notes, and an introduction to the music that will be assigned as homework.
A beginning student should practice from 10-20 minutes a day, depending on their age and ability. One of the greatest challenges in flute playing is consistently producing a sound. Because of the nature of the instrument (blowing into a hole rather than a mouthpiece), it is difficult to produce a sound right away. It can take some time for younger kids to make a sound, but this is very common.
As students progress, there will be fun rewards, such as playing duets with their teacher, learning their favorite songs or pieces from their favorite movies or shows, and even making up their own songs! Music is a fantastic way to be creative and imaginative while learning!
Vienna, flute student, demonstrating on a curved headjoint