General Infomration About the Flute
Parts of the Flute:
Care & Maintenance of the Flute:
- Always swab your flute after playing. This protects the pads from drying, wetting and shrinking, and allows them to wear better.
- Always handle the flute only by the smooth sections and never grip the moving parts. Twist the flute together, or take apart holding the smooth sections where your hand pressure will not bend the mechanism and keys.
- Polish skin oils off with a micro-fibre cloth. (sold in music shops for flutes; can be laundered. The fabric wicks up oils.) Note: excessive polishing can wear off gold and silver plating over several years, so polish gently. Only use a chemically treated flute polishing cloth (polish dust impregnated in inner cloth) once or twice a year.
- Do not use household silver polish on any flute, as it will gradually destroy pad surfaces and allow scoring of the mechanism inside the rods. The flute can be professionally re-polished and dipped to remove tarnish every 1-2 years when you send it to an expert technician for a “Clean, Oil and Adjust”. Keys and mechanism must be removed to clean tarnish from tubing.
- It is best to put the flute in its case when not practicing or playing. Laying the flute on a soft surface such as a bed or couch, where it can get sat on, or leaving it on a chair or in an area where others may knock it down accidentally can lead to costly repairs. If you do leave it out, make sure it leave it on a flat surface and one that is out of the way.
- Avoid scratching or denting the embouchure area especially. Other areas can be un-dented or buffed, but not the embouchure edge.
- Avoid leaving the flute in a hot or cold car. Both heat and cold can affect the glue, mechanics and pads, and cause mechanical playing problems.
- Avoid polishing the flute close to the key pads. The pads are very fragile and can easily ripe. Likewise, avoid trying to clean between the keys where springs and corks can become unhooked or caught.
- You can put pieces of anti-tarnish strips in your flute case, replacing them every 3-6 months. These help the silver stay shiney. The black paper strips are called: 3M Anti-tarnish strips and should be available hardware stores; sold for household silverware protection. They absorb the sulpher that turns silver black. If you can’t find them, you can order them from Fluteworld.
- When setting the flute down, always place the flute with the keys up. The weight of the flute’s body CAN warp the rods overtime and the moisture from the tube CAN drip onto the pads causing them to make sticky noises, and to eventually leak.
- Keep your touch light: Finger all notes lightly and the flutes pads will not become compressed, and will seal well and evenly for years.
- A readjustment of the flute’s pads is a normal procedure after the first 3-8 months of playing a new flute. The flute will have ‘settled’ and need minor final adjustments. This usually costs about $50 to $80.
- Do not leave the flute unattended in public places. Take a detailed series of photos for insurance purposes, and write down the flute’s serial number (found on the strapping nearest the trill keys or on the barrel).
- Always value the flute at replacement cost with insurance companies. Get a valuation receipt from your repair person every year when you take the flute to be cleaned and oiled.
- Flutes need to go to the repair shop for a “Clean-Oil-Adjust” every six to twelve months. If you play more than three hours a day, service will be more frequent. Over the long term a well-serviced flute will cost less to keep in good repair.
Flute & Music Stores:
Major Flute Manufactors (that I recommend to students):
- Miyazawa Flutes
- Yamaha Flutes
- Sankyo Flutes
- Miramatsu Flutes
- Trevor James
International Music Score Library Project– Sharing the world’s free public domain music.
Local Youth Symphonies:
San Francisco Youth Symphony
California Youth Symphony
El Camino Youth Symphony
San Jose Youth Symphony
Pennisula Youth Orchestra
California Philharmonic Youth Orchestra
Kamsa (Korean-American Music Supporters Association) Youth Symphony Orchestra