Here are some samples from Chapter 3A. Getting Started on Flute:

1. Flute Overview

The flute is the soprano instrument of the woodwind family and is very popular with performers and composers. It is the oldest wind instrument and has been played by both professionals and amateurs since the 16th century. Flutes, in some shape or form, have been found in almost every culture of the world.

There is an enormous amount of flute repertoire encompassing everything from the Baroque works of J.S. Bach (1685-1750) and G. F. Telemann (1681-1757), to French Baroque works of Michel Blavet (1700-1768) and Jacques Hotteterre (1674-1763), concerti by W. A. Mozart (1756-1791), to French salon pieces of Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) and Philippe Gaubert (1879-1941), to 20th century American works by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) and Robert Muczynski (1929-2010), to contemporary works featuring extended techniques and non-traditional flute sounds by Robert Dick (b. 1950) and Ian Clarke (b. 1964).

The flute is found in many genres of music and is used prominently in orchestras, wind ensembles and chamber music groups. Famous flutists include Jeanne Baxtresser, Julius Baker (1915-2003), Sir James Galway, Emmanuel Pahud, Jean Pierre Rampal (1922-2000), Alexa Still, and Carol Wincenc. Jazz flutist Herbie Mann was the preeminent jazz flutist of the 1960‘s and Hubert Laws, classically trained at Juilliard, became an influential jazz flutist in the 1970‘s and received a lifetime achievement award from the National Flute Association (NFA) in the field of jazz in 2010. Contemporary flutists Jim Walker (also a NFA Lifetime Achievement Winner), Ali Ryerson and Holly Hofmann continue to impact the jazz world. More recently, Greg Patillo has made the combination of flute playing and beatboxing popular.

The flute is also a very popular instrument within the folk and Celtic music traditions, with some of the most famous flutists of this genre being Chris Norman, Joannie Madden, Kevin Crawford, Grey Larsen, and Seamus Egan. Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull has been credited for bringing the flute to rock music.

Music programs in the public schools use the flute and piccolo in concert bands, marching bands, orchestras, pit orchestras for musical theater, and chamber ensembles such as flute choir, woodwind quartet, or woodwind quintet. Some programs include the flute in jazz bands as well.

The flute is a very popular instrument with many students eager to learn to play. The most important trait to consider is the student’s desire. One physical consideration is the shape of the student’s top lip, as students with a very prominent tear drop in the middle of the top lip can have difficulty in producing a quality sound on the flute. This problem is not insurmountable, but it requires a knowledgeable teacher and an investment in time, effort, and patience. In the author’s experience, children with this situation often, but not always, become frustrated at their lack of progress on the flute and, ultimately, quit playing. The most important trait to consider with recruiting flutists to play piccolo is a good ear, since playing with good intonation and tone is even more challenging on the smaller instrument.

2. Parts of the flute

The flute has three parts:

1. The head joint is the short piece that has the embouchure hole and lip plate; it has no keys and is open only on one end.

2. The body is the longest piece and contains the majority of the key work.

3. The foot joint is the shortest piece, is open on both ends, and has a few keys.

Parts of the Flute (top to bottom): Foot Joint, Body, Head Joint

There should also be a straight rod, made of plastic or metal, tucked into the edge of the case. This is vital for proper cleaning of the instrument and ckecking the position of the head joint cork, but isn’t a part that needs to be assembled to play the flute.

Download Sample Pages from the Flute Chapter of the Book