My two girls (almost 8 & 10) are going to learn to play the flute this fall. Since they're young, I don't plan to spend a TON on these first instruments. I'm looking at an Armstrong 102 and a Bundy. I've heard that Bundy really isn't the best name. From what I've read, the Armstrong 102 seems like a pretty good beginning flute. There's also one that's pretty inexpensive- an Etude flute.. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
PS I know there are much better companies out there, like Yamaha but that's just too much for this situation. If they continue to play for years, I will seriously consider a more expensive flute.
Aside from the Etude, those three are used, from a reputable,local instrument company that goes over them and makes sure they are in working order.. Armstrong 102, Bundy, or Emerson (not sure of a model # on either of the last two). I checked out fluteworld, the cheapest one they have is $995. That is just too much for an 8 or 10 yr old who is just beginning. I need something that's decent enough, it'd be good if it lasted well through a year or two but will give us a start. Is it going to sound like a Yamaha, no. I don't expect it to. I expect it to give them a start and know if this is something for us in the long term.
When my son needed his first flute, I went to a local music store. A well established one that works with local schools and teaches on-site. They had a large selection of Yamaha flutes to chose from - all student models.
$300 and the thing looked and played like it was almost brand new. Your best bet is to do the same - find a music school that uses Yamaha or some better brand instrument (Pearl also is good).
It looks like the best answer I'm going to get is to go buy a Yamaha. That really doesn't help me. I totally get that many people here are REALLY into flutes and are willing to pay a lot more for their flutes, this makes sense. I was asking for help in finding the most reasonably price, decent quality beginner instrument. No, I don't plan to spend $300/flute, not for the first year. I'm willing to MAYBE half of that. I have to believe that there is something that would get them started that is between a $30 flute and a $900 flute that would work. I was really hoping people could separate themselves from the situation and understand that this ISN'T my passion (or theirs yet) and we just need something reasonably priced to get started.
I have repadded a number of flutes, including several Armstrong's. They are fairly sturdy and the last 102 I worked on played very well. I also liked the way a Jupiter played, although it may not have been quite so sturdy. Any Armstrong, gemeinhardt, Jupiter, emmerson, Yamaha, or other major non-cheapo chinese flute would be OK or, worst case, could be repaired to be OK. If you PM me I may be able to help. -- jim
I think the other thing to keep in mind here is that flute is one of the most difficult wind instruments in the first weeks of learning. And 8 years old is VERY young to start. Not only is there a quality difference in these brands, but there is a difference in the ease with which they can be played. A lot of people love Yamaha not only because they're a solid, reputable brand, but the tone hole is cut so they're easier to blow. Gemeinhardt is one of the more difficult flutes for beginners. The differences matter, particularly when you're trying to avoid frustration. Have you considered renting?
Also consider that if you get a very good condition used student flute, you can sell it if things don't work out for $250 pretty easily, since once the initial depreciation happens, they hardly lose any value after that. Also, a reputable shop will make sure it's in good shape and plays well, plus likely offer a few free or low cost lessons.
*8* is young. You might want to actually have your child play a recorder. You can get an excellent one for $50. The Tudor TD375 is similar to a flute in range but is a magnitude easier to play for a beginning player.
As I think about this, it occurs to me that the disconnect you are experiencing with people on this board is that you may be thinking about flutes the same way you would think about cars.
For the average new driver, there is no such thing as a "bad" car. Assuming its not a safety risk, it makes sense to buy the cheapest car you can for a new driver. It doesn't matter that it smells bad, doesn't always start, and is a rusted-out ****box. It's still way better than having no car at all, and will be the envy of it's owner's friends.
This is because there's a built in passion for driving by the time somebody gets their license. It's very rare for somebody to have a bad experience driving a poor car and to give up driving for life.
Music is completely different. It takes serious effort and creativity to get a child hooked on making music. Starting them off with a bad experience is just stacking the deck against them. Oh sure, there's the rare child with such an internal passion that they'll persevere no matter what they have, but they're really the exception.
Hence the recorder idea - set them up with something they can succeed with, and maybe they'll want to move on to flute or some other instrument later. Or not - my grandfather played recorder his whole life! I'd even prefer putting a kid on a music app for their iPhone, or Wii Music, than give them a really bad instrument that will give them a terrible experience.