Playing The Flute Essay

1588 words - 6 pages

Of all the instruments laid out on display, only one caught my attention. I was thirteen at the time, and naturally, my eye was drawn to the shiniest of the group. I had never heard the sound of a flute before, aside from the cheap imitation of one on my family’s electronic keyboard. Nevertheless, I picked the pretty, gleaming, easy-to-carry flute on that first day of band class. Three years later, I can’t imagine playing anything else. What started off as blind luck and an attraction to shiny objects is now a part of my life. Playing an instrument is always a worthwhile investment; you develop a skill that many people only wish they had, you have opportunities to meet other musicians, and you may even get to travel in a band setting. But in order to reap the benefits, you first have to learn how to play.
Whether you pick the flute as your instrument of choice because it produces your favorite sound, looks easier to transport than a tuba, or simply because it’s shiny, you will have to decide how to buy. There are a variety of reputable brands to choose from, but not all make durable, high-quality flutes. It will be tempting to go for a cheaper model, but in many cases, you will be sacrificing quality. There is a surprising amount of engineering that goes into the making of one instrument. Each hole must be placed precisely, otherwise the tone is distorted. Often, cheaper flutes skip steps in engineering, or are made with shoddy materials that either bend or break too easily (Duncan). While you should not compromise a good brand name for cost, beginning flutists can get away with buying a student flute. Student flutes differ from professional flutes in that professional flutes are open-holed. Rather than having solid keys, a professional flute has keys with holes in the middle, so that the flutist may better feel the airflow. Another difference is its price-tag. You can snag a quality, student flute for a few hundred dollars. A professional flute can cost thousands.
Once you have your flute, assembling it correctly is the next step. Or, if you are like I was three years ago, you will ignore this part and make a fool of yourself by trying vainly attach the head joint to the foot joint, while the entirety of the staff of the rental shop snickers at you. If you wish to avoid that, then continue reading this section. There are three separate parts of the flute. The head joint is of middling length and contains the mouthpiece, which has an off-center hole. The lower part of this joint is typically of a duller color and is called the tuning slide or the tenon (Estella sec. 3). The tuning slide attaches to the longest piece, the body joint, where the majority of the keys are located as well as another tenon, which is comparatively shorter than the one located on the head joint. As you may have guessed, the final piece is the foot joint which attaches to the tenon of the body joint. All joints should fit together snugly,...

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