Updated: Sep 12
Picking out and purchasing your first flute can be challenging and overwhelming. I'm here to say take a deep breath, it's all going to be okay, and I'm here to help guide you in finding and purchasing your, or your child's first flute.
There are several things to consider when looking for the first flute.
Who is the flute for? Is the flute for you or your child?
How often and how will the flute be played?
What is your budget?
Where can you try flutes?
Who Is The Flute For?
If you are looking to purchase the flute for you, that's great! That's going to make the shopping experience a little easier, as more than likely, you're going to need just the standard student flute.
If the flute is for your child, we'll have to look at a few things. How old is your child? With the flute being an instrument that goes out to the side, we have to make sure your kid is big enough to hold the flute that way.
Generally, kids 10 and older are big enough to hold the standard flute - so if your kid is 10 and older, that's where I would suggest starting, a standard student flute.
If your kid is younger than that, then we'll need to find a flute with a curved headjoint. You can get both the silver-plated flutes or you can look at the plastic-type flutes.
Silver-Plated Curved Headjointed Flutes:
Even these have several options. There are flutes that are meant for the younger player. This type of flute has only 2 pieces (unlike the standard flute, which has 3). It contains the curved headjoint & the body. The body of this flute also has less keys, so it cannot play as low as the standard flute, still acceptable for a student who is just learning. The fingerings are the same and the way you produce a sound is the same. Keep in mind, when your student gets big enough for a standard flute, you'll have to upgrade the whole flute.
Di Zhao Model Mini-D
Perfect for younger students with the curved headjoint and less keys to focus on really learning good sound, fingerings, and proper holding of the flute.
See more about this flute from the Flute Center Of New York: https://flutecenter.com/products/dizhao-minid?variant=1181516811#
This flute is very similar, but its headjoint is curved differently. It too has a little less amount of keys.
See more about this flute from the Flute Center Of New York: https://flutecenter.com/products/jupiter-flute-model-700wd-prodigy-model?variant=41189285955
Or you can purchase a standard student flute and purchase just a curved headjoint. This option will allow your student player to grow into their flute, instead of having to fully upgrade flutes. This flute will be a little heavier since it has all the keys, but this is the way I recommend, because your flute player will grow and get stronger. You may have to get the headjoint adjusted by a tech if you buy a flute outside of the headjoint's brand.
Yamaha Curved Flute Headjoint
This headjoint seamlessly fits into the Yamaha Student Flute Model 222. Your child grows into their flute!
Learn more about the headjoint: https://flutecenter.com/products/yamaha-curved-flute-headjoint-for-yfl-222-all-silver-plated?variant=16051166150750#
See the flute this curved headjoint goes to: https://flutecenter.com/products/yamaha-yfl-221?variant=21976909699
Another option is to go with a plastic flute, made specifically for younger flute players. The Nuvo flute is a popular brand for these flutes. The Nuvo flutes do not have the curved headjoints, but they do size their flutes for young players (they also have student flute sizes too). This flute is lighter in weight, durable, requires little maintenance and repair, and has padding so your flutist will learn proper hand placement. This flute is great for your student player ages 4-10. When your student switches over to the standard metal flute, your student will have to get used to a heavier, thinner instrument.
The Nuvo flutes come in fun colors! Perfect for young players!
Check out the Nuvo flutes here: https://www.flutistry.com/products/nuvo-jflute
How Often & How Will The Flute Be Played?
Flutes are made out of different materials and are built differently from one another. Some flutes last longer than others, some have different sound qualities. If you don't plan on playing the flute that much, then your first flute probably doesn't need to be one that's handmade. If you plan on practicing your flute a lot and playing in ensembles, you'll probably want to get one that's a little nicer, holds up better, and has a better sound. These flutes make a difference when it comes to budget, as cheaper isn't always the best way to go for the first flute.
Cheaper is not always better. If you plan on playing the flute very little, playing just for fun, and are on a tight budget, a cheaper flute will be okay. Now when I'm talking about cheaper flutes, I'm not referring to the Amazon & Ebay flutes. If you can avoid them, please do. The flutes from Amazon are poorly made. I bought a few just to see what they were like. A few came in & were playable. The mechanisms were slow and heavy. After about 8 months of playing the flute, it basically was garbage. Flute repairmen will not repair these types of flutes. A few I ordered did not come already playable. I had to tighten and adjust screws (which generally you do not do, a flute tech does because over-tightening can damage the flute). If a student received a flute that needed adjusting, there's no way they would have figured that out.
I recommend purchasing your flute from a trusted dealer that offers warranties and repairs. You can check some of your local music shops, but if you can, I highly suggest finding your flute through the Flute Center Of New York.
Cheaper, yet trusted flutes:
Some flutes I recommend taking a look into for cheaper, student flutes: (Under $1,000)
These brands are well-known and make excellent beginner flutes. I recommended these flutes for marching band, but I also recommend them for beginner flutists too. Watch the video below to see more about these flutes:
If you are still on too tight of a budget, the Musician's Addition flute store carries refurbished flutes. We take in brand-name flutes and repair them to working order. Some flutes may have some blemishes or signs of use, but we promise that these flutes play beautifully and will last a long time, as long as the flute is taken care of.
If you have more of a budget, that's great! Bigger selection! These brands also make higher-quality flutes as well. The difference between the cheaper models is maintenance, durability, and sound (which all come from how the flute is made and the materials they are made of silver-plated versus actual silver).
For your first flute, you'll more than likely want a closed-hole flute, which most student flutes are. As a beginner flutist, you'll want to get the fundamentals down first. Once you become an intermediate flutist, that's a time you'll want to transition into an intermediate open-holed flute.
Trying Out Flutes
Whether your flute teacher has recommendations or you are very first learning, I always recommend trying some flutes out before you purchase your flute. Even if you a purchasing a cheaper flute, your flute is still an investment. See how the flute feels while holding it (they do feel differently!), see how the lip plate feels, and if you're able to get a sound out of the flute, see how the flute sounds.
I recommend trying out some flutes from the Flute Center Of New York. They carry many different flutes, including the curved headjointed flutes for kids! (They don't have the Nuvo flute though). They ship the flutes straight to your home, which I like because it's a no-pressure trial and you can take your time really getting a feel for the flute.
All you have to do is give them a call or fill out the form on their website: https://flutecenter.com/pages/trial-form
If you use the code "REESA", you'll get some extra perks too!
Free Shipping (that means trying out the flute is completely free!)
An Extended Trial period (now 10 Days!)
And if you purchase a flute, you'll get an extended warranty (18 months)
And if you are interested in trying out the Nuvo flute, Flutistry carries them & you can try them as well. They also ship flutes to your home to try. I unfortunately don't have any extra perks, but the Flutistry is worth checking out if interested in the Nuvo flute. You can give them a call as well or fill out the form here: https://www.flutistry.com/pages/trials
I hope this helps guide you in finding your first flute & if you have any questions, please feel free to comment or email us! Happy fluting!