Let’s talk the best flutes.
When you have a student who is required to take music in school, you have two choices when it comes to musical instruments: renting them from a local company or purchasing one of the flutes like the ones we recommend in this article.
As you might have guessed, renting is typically more expensive . . . with the total cost for a school year costing TWICE (or more) as much as the flutes we recommend in this article.
We interviewed band directors (as well as parents of student flutists) to get their advice on what is the best course when your child decides to take up the flute.
When shopping for a flute, consider these three factors:
- Comfort. The lighter the weight, the happier the player. Also look for steel springs, a closed-hole design and bumpers (the choices are neoprene, cork or rubber).
- Included accessories. You obviously need a case, but a cleaning cloth, flute stand and cleaning rod are nice as well.
- Price. As you’d imagine, flutes come in various materials. Nickel plating is affordable. Cupronickel, an alloy of hickel and copper, is the least expensive option of all.
Like all musical instruments, there are trade-offs when it comes to quality and price. And when we talked with band directors (we interviewed three in different parts of the country), we heard varied opinion about renting versus buying an affordable model. Some band directors insist rental is best and deride the quality of low-end flutes. Others said it was perfectly acceptable to try out these flutes, especially for first-timers.
And of course, these flutes are designed for students. They aren’t as ideal for professional flutists planning to tour with a Jethro Tull tribute band.
Fancier student brands like Armstrong often cost five TIMES that of these flutes (their fans would say they are five times better in quality). Those are best for students who plan to play flute more than just that one year required in middle school.
For the best lightweight flute, after researching 6 different brands recommended by band directors, we decided on Glory’s Closed Hole C Flute.
It is a very lightweight model—the shipping weight is 1.92 lbs, but that includes the cleaning cloth and tools, etc. So the actual flute is less.
What We Liked
• Cupronickel plating.
• Included tuning rock.
• Accessories include polish cloth, cork grease and white gloves.
• Nice sound for such an affordable flute.
• Great for students.
What Needs Work
• Finish can easily scratch off.
• Can break if your student isn’t careful.
• Music instrument shops often refuse to work on these affordable flutes, if they need repair. Which means it might be more practical to purchase a replacement if it breaks.