All About Professional Flutes
When should you invest in a professional flute?
Once a flute player has fully committed to their instrument, is playing very advanced pieces, and is perhaps even ready to make flute playing their career, investing in a professional flute is in order. Professional flutes can be quite expensive, so be sure you’re ready to commit to a professional model. If you’re not, there are dozens of incredibly high quality intermediate flutes to choose from!
With professional flutes, the metals are much higher quality. The springs and the pointed key arms are made with more precision and function very smoothly. Professional-level instruments also offer the option of soldered versus drawn tone holes—a personal preference. Take your time and be sure to try a lot of flutes out before making a decision.
What Family are Flutes In?
The flute belongs in the woodwind family. However, unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across its opening.
The flute is a not transposing instrument, which means the pitch in the notation is the same as the concert pitch.
Flutes are the earliest surviving musical instruments. Several flutes dating to 43,000-35,000 years ago have been found in present-day Germany.
There are a wide variety of flutes including:
- piccolo (sopranino)
- concert flute (soprano or C flute)
- alto flute (alto)
- bass flute (tenor)
- contrabass (bass)
The C flute is the main instrument in the flute family. Unlike other instrument families, a flute player usually does not specialize in an alto, bass or piccolo. Instead, a flutist must master the concert flute as his or her primary instrument and study the others as secondary instruments.
Who Plays the Professional Flute?
A musician who plays the flute can be referred to as a flute player, flutist, flautist (more common in British English) or, less commonly, fluter or flutenist. Almost anyone can learn to play the flute – kids as young as 7-8 years old can start on the instrument, though young students would almost exclusively play on student flutes.
Professional flute players who have progressed in their skill on the instrument can play a variety of music genres. All orchestras have flute players and many pieces often feature flute solos. Flutes are often featured in Celtic and Irish music. They also appear in pop culture like rock bands Jethro Tull and Men Down Under, pop music like Lizzo and popular movies like Anchor Man.
What Does a Flute Look Like?
The flute looks like a type of thin tube or pipe with a hole on each end and holes on the body. The flute has three main parts: the headjoint, the body, and the footjoint. The player’s fingers move over the holes while they blow into the flute to make music.
What are Professional Flutes Made of?
These days, flutes are almost always made of metal, though some beginner models are made from plastic. Professional flutes should be handmade, usually from either platinum, gold, silver or any combination of those.
What Does a Professional Flute Sound Like?
The flutist produces sound from the flute by blowing across the lip of the headjoint, which creates a vibrating column of air inside the instrument. The flute player changes the pitch of notes by using the keys. You could describe the flute’s sound as bright, ethereal, soft, brilliant, clear, or shrill.
Good Flute Brands for Professional Players
If you’re looking for a good professional flute, there are many instrument makers that craft high-quality instruments. Pearl, Yamaha, Gemeinhardt and Altus make high quality flutes of all levels.
Best Professional Flutes
If you’re looking to purchase a professional flute, here are four models to get you started on your search:
Haynes Q4 Classic Sterling Silver Flute - a professional instrument with numerous detailed options including C# trill, Split E (offset only), High E facilitator (disk), and a 14k gold riser on the headjoint
Yamaha Professional 677H Series Flute – an affordable professional flute that provides an impressive evenness of tone and response throughout all registers
Pearl Flutes 795 Elegante Vigore Professional Series Open Hole Flute - the handmade workmanship, precise intonation, and a brilliant and projecting sound all at a superb value are what make the Elegante a favorite of professionals
Gemeinhardt Galway Crusader 33 Series Flute - features the same headjoint style Sir James Galway used when he played in the Berlin Philharmonic
Professional Flute Accessories
Maintenance is an important part of owning a flute and there are many woodwind care & cleaning accessories that will be needed throughout the life of your instrument to keep it responsive and performing at the highest level. Regular use of flute cleaning rods, flute swabs and cleaning mits will keep your investment in top condition.
In addition to these maintenance related items, cases made exclusively for flutes can provide ample storage for all the player’s accessories and provide much-needed protection for your instrument.
Print Music for Professional Flute Players
For flute players who are ready to invest in a professional flute, it’s also time to start learning some new music to expand your skills. Browse our vast selection of print music, music books & scores to find new pieces for your repertoire.
Buying a Professional Flute at Woodwind & Brasswind
Purchasing a flute involves knowing what instrument best fits your needs, age, and skill level. When buying a beginner’s first instrument, it is beneficial to speak to the student’s band director or private instructor before making a final buying decision. Learn even more with our flute buying guide.
No matter what type or category of flute you are shopping for, Woodwind & Brasswind has been meeting the needs of students and professionals for decades. Each purchase is backed by Woodwind & Brasswind's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, giving you 45 days to decide if the instrument is right for you. If it’s not everything you need it to be, you can return it for a full refund. *
While making sure you found the right instrument is important, making sure the price is right matters, too, and Woodwind & Brasswind’s 45-Day Price guarantee means that even if you find the same model flute for less elsewhere, we’ll make up the difference. As musicians of all levels have done for decades, you can buy from Woodwind & Brasswind with complete confidence that you received the best instrument for the very best price.
*All returned woodwind and brass instruments are assessed a $10.00 sterilization fee. Instruments priced over $3,000.00 are assessed a $20.00 fee. All mouthpieces are assessed a $4.00 fee.