Ramblings from a newbie

Ramblings from a newbie    11:04 on Wednesday, November 29, 2006          

(41 points)
Posted by Marie-in-Maine

I really like this forum. I have picked up alot of tips here. Can anyone tell me what the benefits of becoming a member are vs whatever I currently am as a poster?

I was practicing this morning because my next lesson is tomorrow. It got me to thinking about my flute and some of the conversations on here. I have an old Selmer Bundy I got off e-bay. I dubbed her ugly Betty because she isn't pretty at all. She has worn off plating in some areas and some fingernail polish dots to show how to line up the head joint from her previous owner. She did come with a nice Pro-Tec bag though. You get what you pay for and she is what I could afford.

She isn't pretty but she does the job. I am a working mother who has some arthritus in her hands and some health issues. I originally thought about gussying her up and putting her on a blog and making fun of her. (Look it's ugly betty of the flute world!) But you know, after playing her for 2 months now I have a new respect. This flute is making it possible for me to play music again. I am learning new things and being challenged by them. I bought a book on flute care so she gets taken care of properly before being put away after every practice. I would love to someday get a proper COA on her but I can't afford that right now and pay for lessons too. (bills and necessities come before fun so the budget is tight) Or maybe I will be able to replace her in the future with something better. Probably by my daughters Geminhardt when I get her something for advanced players when the time comes. (hers I got through bartering)

I look at websites about flutes and the prices astound me. Not that I think they aren't worth it. making a quality flute isn't an easy thing. I recognise that. I just hope that you realize how lucky some of you are to be able to afford such beautiful things. And that you can even chose between them. Many of you think my flute (and possibly my daughters) is a piece of junk but to me she is my flute. I respect what it does for me by allowing me to learn on her.

Yes please do keep helping people not get taken by scams and warn them about junk flutes on e-bay, just keep in mind that what YOU consider junk might be someone elses treasure. I think there are different levels. Helping people find an affordable flute they can learn on is much different than helping a person find an orchestra quality instrument. School band vs making a living playing all come into account.

I wish there was a place where people could donate old instruments so that students (of all ages) that can't afford them could rent for free. I suppose that would take alot of donated fixing time by a tech though. Just a thought.

Someday maybe I will have one of the quality instruments. Only time will tell. For now I will keep taking care of my ugly Betty. She works for me.

Re: Ramblings from a newbie    13:33 on Wednesday, November 29, 2006          

(180 points)

I wish there was a place where people could donate old instruments so that students (of all ages) that can't afford them could rent for free.

Actually there are programs out there like that. I know there is one in the state I live in, but I can't remember what it is called at this particular moment.

Don't be ashamed of your flute Marie. I started on a nickel open hole Artley. I played that little stinker all the way in through my sophomore year of high school. Eventually my music goals kind of pushed me in to a new flute. I surpassed that instrument. I then went to an Emerson, and now on to a Pearl. Your flute is what you make of it, and if you can make a less expensive flute play well, then you have nothing to be ashamed of. I knew people who made All State playing on the brands you mentioned. Keep working hard! It sounds like you are a good mother who is doing everything she can for her daughter, and keeping a hobby on the side. It's a great place to be in. :D

Re: Ramblings from a newbie    16:44 on Wednesday, November 29, 2006          

(2369 points)
Posted by jose_luis

Welcome, Marie,

As far as I know, becoming a subscriber gives you access to some sheet music and related files in this same site, that are not available to non-subscribers. Probably you do not need it now, particularly if you are on a tight budget.

Playing on a an instrument that is not OK mechanically can be discouraging, it happened to me with my firts flute. It was a Gemeinhardt M2, too old and was causing unnecessary difficulties in my practice. I could, however, play on it for two years and complete (end of year duets included) my first learning period.

But the good-looking or ugliness of the instrument is not important at all, except, perhaps, to oneself, but not for the quality of the music it can make.

In my case I later switched to a much better Yamaha. I could no afford it directly, but I took a bank loan, to be paid in 12 months and so it became possible. With a similar arrangement, you could buy a 2.5K$ instrument paying about 100$ monthly, for 24 months. It could still be difficult, but not impossible. Or you could try a longer payment period.
Also, there are many other good brands and models available for considerably less than the 2.5K$ I mentioned.
More experienced members inthis Forum will surely advise you when the moment arrives.

Imn my case, the result was quite gratifying. According to my teacher (obvously she knows much better than me), there was a big change not only in sound quality, but also in the interest I showed and the musicality of my playing. Now I feel more sure of myself and dare to more difficult pieces: I also am doing better and faster in my learning.

I do not mean at all to discourage you from continuing to play on your Selmer; I just tell you my own experience and I am sure you will find the way and be able in the future to swithc to a better instrument, when you feel you really need it and the conditions allow you to do so.

You could also try buying a first brand but second hand instrument, provided it comes from a reliable source (not EBay, I would say). I have seen a few offers in this same Forum in the
near past.

I wish you good luck and lots of enjoyment.


Sorry for so many typos. The spellchecker stopped working (or switched to its second language on its own...)

Re: Ramblings from a newbie    17:31 on Wednesday, November 29, 2006          

(480 points)
Posted by Tibbiecow

you are a delight to have on the forum.

Just about everyone here started on a flute that they outgrew. My problem was that I didn't even know that you could buy a better flute, I was that ignorant. My Dad bought me a silver-head Gemeinhardt for a high-school graduation gift, and I was blown away at the response I could get from this instrument. The low notes just BOOMED out, and the headjoint made the notes really sing. All of a sudden, it seemed like I was a LOT better flute player! My biggest regret was that I didn't have it for my last year or two in high school, I was really inspired to 'reach beyond' and improve with that new flute, and at University the music director basically told me that my playing was dreadful and that I couldn't play with his groups.

So shame on that music direstor, but Jose Luis has some good points: love the flute you have, and save your pennies for a while, because that step-up flute is a beast that makes you feel like you can do SO much more with the flute.

When it is time to upgrade, you could probably find a used student Yamaha 200 series, and put a good silver headjoint on it, for $500 or less if you know the right people. Jupiter makes a good quality headjoint (D2 model) that costs less than $250 retail, you could put that into a student Jupiter probably for near the same price.

There are scholarships for rental instruments in our school district, for any student who wants to play (and keeps it up!) Save your pennies and keep your ears open, and when Betty has served her purpose for you, we will all do our best to help you find an appropriate instrument.
Keep learning, and keep your chin up.

By the way, I have a Jupiter 611 (silver head, a good player and a great step-up flute) that I bought to resell. It has had a complete overhaul, and if you have any interest in it, I may be able to save it for you, understanding that I'd take payments for a while, and you might save up a small down payment in a year until you know that you have grown beyond Betty.

Re: Ramblings from a newbie    10:03 on Friday, December 1, 2006          

(41 points)
Posted by Marie-in-Maine

Thanks for the replies.

My real point was just that sometimes it isn't about the best you can get, but doing the best you can with what you have or CAN get. And being grateful for even that much. I understand I will need to get my daughter a better flute later to help her if she wants to do well playing. And I know I will need something better in time as well. It just sometimes annoys me when I see people not be grateful for what they DO have, or telling someone (rudely) that they own a piece of junk.

Consider not just what you are saying, but how you are saying it. "That might not be the best flute for you over time because it can be difficult to keep adjusted." sounds far better than - "Oh that is a piece of junk that will break down on you constantly."

It is all relative to the situation at hand. Most of people on here are wonderful. A few however can come across as a bit full of themselves. I do understand some players here are more serious than others, but still it isn't brain surgery or curing cancer. It is music. Something we are doing because we love it.

Opinions need to be taken into account. What is junk to one player is an excellent instrument to another. (Or what is beautiful music to one ear can be painful to anothers.) Remember that it is ONLY one persons opinion.

I am very glad that when the time does come to get my next flute I will have the skills needed to be able to try them out myself and form my own opinions.

And for those that own a second rate flute they consider a piece of junk that is beneath them to play, send them to me! I'll take it off your hands! LOL One persons trash is anothers treasure after all.

It does not offend me that some don't think I have a great flute. I know that it is not an attack on me. It is true that it isn't a great flute. But it is a working flute and THAT is what is important to some of us on here. (though admittedly probably a minority)

Have a great day!

Re: Ramblings from a newbie    11:19 on Friday, December 1, 2006          

(2369 points)
Posted by jose_luis

Well said, Marie.

Re: Ramblings from a newbie    11:55 on Friday, December 1, 2006          

(333 points)
Posted by kippsix

Marie I totally agree! The VAST majority of people playing the flute will NOT make a living doing so. Plus, many times people who buy "professional" level flutes do not need, nor will they ever need, that level of instrument. They would sound basically the same on a good student level instrument.

Sometimes the comments come from a younger person or a student who has limited experience (and short perspectives)and says "that's a piece of junk", because they have such product loyalty to their own instrument ("mine's the best, the rest suck"). I can usually overlook such poo.

However, there are times when I cringe at the way some people "slam" another's instrument. I proudly play on a 1970, entirely silver, open hole, in-line, c-foot........SELMER! I have played continuously for 40 years. I was first chair through high school, got a 4 year full scholarship (flute), changed my major to something more functional, and have played that "Selmer-is-a-piece-of-junk" flute through the whole time. I do not appreciate the generalizations or "slams" against MY instrument.

I have had the opportunity to play several other flutes that sell for over $10,000, and am not THAT ($10,000 worth) impressed. Could it be that I'm not "good" enough to hear the difference, there is always that possibility, but I didn't like the way they sound when others play them either. My flute has been played by others who own "the best" flutes, and they are amazed. How could that be? It's JUST a Selmer ("piece of junk")!!!!

I have heard Gemeinhardts that I HATE and Gemeinhardts that sound great. The same with Yamaha, Jupiter, Pearl, and the list goes on. I played on a little Yamaha 221 the other day that sounded delightful. What! a student level flute!!!

From another perspective, at this very moment I have two vehicle sitting in my driveway. A Porsche and a Dodge Caravan. Who can tell me which one is a piece of junk?

Re: Ramblings from a newbie    16:12 on Friday, December 1, 2006          

(109 points)
Posted by ninafire

If your Porsche is anything like my brother's Porsche, I'm guessing your good vehicle is the minivan! My brother purchased his somewhere around 10 years ago with the intention of rebuilding it, and I can't recall if it ever actually ran or not. The engine is in pieces in a box and I'd lay money on that they probably aren't even all there at this point

Re: Ramblings from a newbie    18:20 on Friday, December 1, 2006          

(333 points)
Posted by kippsix

Yep, you guessed it. My son bought the Porsche off of e-bay, and although it does "run", there is something wrong with it. He doesn't have a driver's license, so I guess he does have some time to re-build the engine.

(BTW, I bought my Grand Caravan off of ebay for a SMOKING GOOD price, so it IS possible to get a good deal off of ebay, you just have to be careful)


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