Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be tackling some common questions and concerns that people have when they’re preparing to come and try a new instrument. Whether you have been playing for 1 year or 25, it’s really important to come prepared to test a variety of instruments to best meet you or your student’s needs. This can seem a bit daunting, though, so watch and read on for some helpful tips!
Question: I’m coming in to try some new flutes. What should I bring?
Answer: This is such an important question! In order to make sure we are setting you or your student up with the perfect flute, it’s really important to make sure that you are getting an idea of how the instrument plays and responds to your unique ability and playing style. The best way to do this is to bring some music, either that you are working on currently, or a piece or two that you are comfortable with. Scale exercises or etude books are always a good idea too, if you have them. We do have some music collections and etude books available in the flute shop as well; these may or may be not be at the appropriate ability level for you.
If you are bringing in a student who has only been playing for a year or so, they understandably will not have the same repertoire to choose from as a high school or college student. In this case, I like to have them find a piece in their band book or beginning method book (especially if they are studying privately) that they are familiar with–trying a new flute isn’t the time to sightread! I usually try to help them find a piece that they can play comfortably (slowly is fine and is usually better) that displays a good range of the instrument.
For high school students and beyond, most will have a good selection of pieces in their repertoire, either from Solo and Ensemble contest, band selections, or method books. Just as with younger students, bring pieces you are already comfortable with, and see if you can find a variety of tempi, range (low and high), and styles. For example, a concerto with fast and slow movements is always a great idea.
Next week, we’ll dive more into how to choose certain excerpts to play once you have a new instrument in your hands. Stay tuned!