Words of Advice about Buying Flutes

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

Moderators: Classitar, pied_piper, Phineas

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Mon Feb 07, 2005 8:18 am

Congratulations Burke! I agree that the 80B is a GREAT instrument for the money. I have only one student who currently plays on one, but have had others nin the past. All sounded wonderful and I don't recall any problems with them. And you got a good deal!

Enjoy your new flute!

Burke
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Post by Burke » Mon Feb 07, 2005 9:50 am

Yes, I feel very good about this purchase. All of you really helped me though. You were right there in the store with me, because I had read just about everything on this forum. I've visited a great number of other websites as well, and tried to learn as much as possible. This seems to be home base though, and I must thank each of you for taking the time to share your skills, knowledge and wisdom with others.

I imagine that it must be difficult for those of you who teach, when you are working with a student who is struggling with an instrument of inferior quality. Do you not wish that you could just take matters into your own hands, and buy the better instrument for such a child? I would be very frustrated in that situation.

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Phineas
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Post by Phineas » Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:01 pm

Do you not wish that you could just take matters into your own hands, and buy the better instrument for such a child?
When I was coming up, that was the biggest hurdle for people starting out. There were just a lot of children who could not afford to buy or rent instruments. If a child was able to live in a school district that supplied them with instruments, often times the instruments were poorly maintained. Not only that, the child had to turn it in at the end of the school year.

I donate instruments as often as I can. I will even help them maintain it if I live close enough to them. Kind of my way of paying Thythes since I do not frequent church like I use to. It does not matter how much the instrument costs me, or how new/old it is. If I see a serious person(does not need to be a child) that plays, or even playing just brings them joy, and they need a better instrument, I will give it to them!

I have been blessed with more than enough instruments, and I think it is my duty as a "Minister of Music" to pass on those blessings. It would be nice if more people had the same point of view. For every kid we can keep from using turntables, and computers as their instrument, the better off the world will be!

Phineas

Burke
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Post by Burke » Tue Feb 08, 2005 9:56 am

This will be the second time I've posted something, then lost it by accidentally closing this website before submitting. My post was so brilliant too! Everybody who believes that, stand on your head. :lol:

Okay, I'll do this again. I like your title, "Minister of Music." That's great, and it hits close to home for other reasons. My Mom spoke with great fondness through the years about the concept of music therapy. I hadn't thought much about it until I picked up a flute again. When I recently went on an internet exploration for flautists of note (pun intended), I discovered Bettine Clemen's website:

http://www.joyofmusic.com/index.htm

She is very focused on music therapy, and your comment about donating musical instruments makes me consider music therapy with respect to my own community. The children of this area seem to have few options for activities after the school bus drops them off. I'm not implying that anything is wrong here, it's just that where I live, there are two country stores and nothing else for about twenty miles. To the best of my knowledge, we don't have groups such as scouting. This is more 4-H territory, but I'm not sure how much of that exists in the immediate area either. I've been a little closed off since I relocated here, but I'm beginning to branch out, and this is my observation.

I know the schools have music programs, but I also know that there can be reasons other than lack of interst that some children do not participate in them. I wonder if an after school, second chance music opportunity wouldn't prove to be of some positive benefit. I don't have a plan. I'm just thinking out loud.

My philosophy to date has been that if I can get a child to take an interest in birdwatching (my hobby), he may not turn his attention to drugs in teenage years. Now, I'm thinking of music in the same way as well.

I'm just prattling on this morning.

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Tue Feb 08, 2005 8:48 pm

I am a Minister of Music as well :D , and I love to make connections with others! I currently serve at a small church that is VERY supportive of my ideas and my love for music. We even have a flute choir that plays on a regular basis.

In the past, I have also donated flutes to needy students, and have also learned that there are many people out there who are willing to support helping a child have a brighter future. I try to help these people connect with students. Many are former flutists who have either lost interest or for various reasons, cannot play any more. I teach in a fairly low income area, although most of my students are from middle class families. A few of my students play donated instruments from people who once played and wanted to share the love of music. I think it often means as much to the giver as it does the student.

Burke
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Post by Burke » Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:23 am

I didn't realize we had all this clergy aboard. :lol:

This forum is a very good place to be, in my opinion. I've been to a lot of flute related websites in the past couple of months, and they're all good. I find no reason to speak disparagingly of any of them, but the fluteland.com concept has a distinct edge. The online lessons, fingering chart and test, and the other options such as the metronome and tuner are nice to have at one's disposal on a single site. The forum layout is pleasing to the eye, and it's easy to find questions and answers that have already been posted. Moreover, the people here are superb about helping each other. I like the flavor of this group.

:idea: Annual fluteland.com conventions? We could take up an entire floor of a hotel somewhere for a couple of days. The guests below us would have to call the police to tell us to stop playing our flutes at 3:00 in the morning so they could get some sleep.

I don't want that continental breakfast thing though. It's room service and mimosas for us, thank you.

Who do I think I am, coming up with this stuff? :lol:

Burke
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Post by Burke » Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:39 am

I forgot to post my original thought, when I wrote about a convention above. Part of the convention could be devoted to a brainstorming session to explore avenues to find even more instruments to donate.

Again, who do I think I am, coming up with this stuff? Still, it never hurts for folks to brainstorm together about things like this, even if we're just having a bit of fun in conversation. You never know what grand idea might emerge.

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:26 am

I had the opportunity to attend the National Flute Association convention last August. While it was an awesome experience, I would like to see such an event for younger or less experienced flutists. I have several middle school students, and I feel that they have less opportunity to explore such events simply because many conventions are over their heads. I also teach older beginners, and see the same need there.

In the past year, I have started a non-profit organization for such ventures. It began as a community flute choir, but I soon realized the needs of flutists in our area, so I began the "Future Flutists", an offshoot of our flute choir. Through this organization, people can donate their unused flutes (and other instruments), which are cleaned, repaired by a local tech, and then placed in the hands of a needy student. There is no money involved, but the recipient must sign an agreement that stated he/she will maintain the instrument and return it if he/she decides not to play any longer. I do not ask for proof of income, and everything is based on the honor system. So far, we have placed three instruments with hopes of obtaining more in the future. One of the benefits of the givers is a tax write-off, and as I said before, the joy of sharing music.

I do not advertise the organization, and people seem to know by word of mouth. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Burke :) This may inspire me to take this thing beyond my community, or even inspire others to do the same.

Burke
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Post by Burke » Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:42 am

Wow! I love what you're doing with the future flutist choir, and making instruments available for them. I had a not-for-profit nature program for children with disablities, and advertised only via word of mouth. I really didn't need serious money, so that wasn't much of an issue, but two wonderful things happened. A grant for physical help appeared from a federal agency, and someone from Colorodo sent me a lovely financial donation. Mind you, I didin't seek either and I didn't know the person in Colorado from a hill of beans. I still don't know how he found out about us. Both avenues of help just appeared. Word of mouth advertising is not to be underestimated.

Now, I have a couple of questions about my flute purchase, if someone doesn't mind taking a moment to read the following. I'd very much appreciate your help. I just read a disturbing post elsewhere here about Armstrongs. The gist of the post appeared to be that Armstrongs were not instruments of quality. I appreciate the relative difference between an Armstrong and -- for example -- a Powell, if that was the way the poster was thinking. You seemed to be supportive of my decision, so I know I shouldn't be too concerned.

The Armstrong in question was a 104; mine is an 80B. Which is considered the better instrument?

The pads seem to be sticking a little. Well, not sticking, precisely. They are quite responsive, but in the quiet of my home, I can hear the pads lifting up when I release the keys. I didn't have a practice room at the store to use when I bought this flute, so there was typical music store background noise and I didn't notice this. If I'm not mistaken, this key issue is a relatively simple fix though. I'm willing to work with that, if it's just a matter of using the paper they make to clean the pads. This flute is already two years old, so I wouldn't exactly be surprised to find a condition like that. I really like the people in that store, and it has a good reputation. I was about an hour late for my appointment with them and that's why I didn't have a practice room. They'd rightfully given it to someone else ... who was on time. That was my bad.

I'm sorry this request for advice is lengthy, but I really don't want to rely on my limited knowledge during this 30 day period when I can still return the flute.

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powayflute01
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Post by powayflute01 » Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:10 pm

Hmmm... I don't really know that much about Armstrong flutes. I used one for the first year that I played flute, but afterthat I purchased a Gemeinhardt. The Armstrongs seem pretty durable...a lot of the high school flute players use them as their "marching flute" to play in marching band, so I think that definitely says something for their durability.
The 80B must be a couple of years old (you might have mentioned that, I can't remember) because I looked for it on the Armstrong website and it would seem they have updated their models, so they don't make the 80B anymore. If it's anything like their current 800B then it definitely sounds good, but I'm not that knowledgable on Armstrong flutes.
As for sticky pads, I've always used cigarette paper to clean mine...just put in the paper, and completely press down the key a few times. There are a variety of other powders for sticky pads on the market, but I've never used them before.
Haha, this one is my favorite: :shock:
[size=75]I <3 LXA[/size]

Burke
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Post by Burke » Thu Feb 10, 2005 4:48 pm

I seem to recall reading about cigarette papers for this use. I know they sell them at one of the stores near here, probably both. I'll try those. I also just re read Phineas' and Fluttiegurl's comments about the 80B. I just got psyched out by the other post I saw, that's all. :oops:

I've been playing this flute all afternoon and it's great.

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pandagirl11
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Post by pandagirl11 » Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:48 pm

Cigarette paper. -.-" I wish they could think of another name for them...

I went to Superstore with my mom the other day to pick some up and the cashier guy kept giving me funny looks and going "Excuse me? Cigarette paper? Whatever for?!"

-.-"

"For my flute..."

He gives me another funny look and finally hands it to me. Very cheap though. I believe it was 98 cents.

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:13 pm

There will always be someone who doubts EVERY brand name of flute, car, TV, etc.


From my experiences, Armstrongs are very durable and have a nice sound. It is good that you understand that there is a great difference between your flute and a Powell. With that knowledge, you can accept your flute for what it is, which seems to be a wonderful advanced model flute that with a greal deal of practice, will take you far. Also, the model 104 in question is a beginner model. Remember that beginner flutes are generally made to be cheap and hold up to just about anything :) Enjoy your flute because it fits you, and don't worry about what someone else might think. My performance flute is a Pearl, and I get a strange reaction from many people when I tell them that at concerts and clinics. For me, it sounds fabulous, and I have never had a problem. Therefore, it is the perfect flute . . . for me! On the other hand, I can appreciate those who do not have the same sound on the same flute. We are all made different!

As for sticking pads: it is common for new pads to stick a little. Don't worry about it, as this should not be a huge problem. Clean them regularly (cig paper or pad paper works fine, I like Zonda papers found at most flute shops - NEVER USE a dollar bill for this). After a while, the sticking should stop. [/code]

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Phineas
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Post by Phineas » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:09 pm

From my experience, most people that complain about Armstrong flutes are just people who are jumping on the band wagon. No matter how many flutes, or how expensive, I will always keep a trusty 104 handy. When half the people that complain about my 104s can play their expensive ones as good as I can play my trusty 104, then they can tell me something :P

When it comes to instruments you can always do worse. Charlie played on a sax that had rubberbands to replace the broken springs. I would like to see some one make fun of him. I have heard Hubert Laws play on a $12 Bamboo flute!

One other thing. Most working musicians are nearly broke. I think you will find a lot of fine artist out there playing on lower price instruments, and making a living doing it.

Enjoy your 80B, and do not forget to give thanks to the most high for your blessing. Remember, YOU are the one that has to live with the new addition to your family, noone else!

Phineas

Burke
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Post by Burke » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:45 pm

I'm happy, just contrite about having briefly second guessed this decision. You all know what you're talking about, and I know that you wouldn't have told me that I'd made a good decision if you hadn't thought so.

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