As parents, we are indeed responsible for the health of our children.
We, as parents, certainly always want to promote in the best possible way the development of our children and the improvement of their abilities to play an instrument.
For several reasons, it is absolutely necessary to choose the right instrument!
I also have children, and I could watch my son – he plays the cello – changing from a ¼ to a ½, later to a ¾ , and finally to a regular full-size cello.
With regard to wind instruments, more and more instruments suited for children have been developed, such as, for instance, the bassoons tuned a fourth or a fifth higher than a regular bassoon.
In the same way, the U-shaped head joints and now the waveline flutes have been developed. For the first time, these instruments provide the optimum combination of the development of the playing technique and the creation of flutes suited for children.
If you want to buy a flute, you need the advice of the future teacher or of an expert instrument retailer, in order to choose the right size of the instrument.
I have already talked about string instruments, but you can again compare it with a bike: we certainly choose the size of a bicycle according to how tall the child is.
Our research project, financially supported by the City of Vienna, has produced a type of flute which meets these requirements. There are two types of flutes:
this is the flute suited for the youngest children, from the age of 5 onwards:
The D waveline flute
It is called Waveline, because its special Waveline bend shortens the instrument, and it is called D, because its range goes until low d (d1).
There is no foot joint, so that the instrument won’t be too heavy. It will take several years anyhow to reach low c (c1) easily, and also to use it.
In the beginning we won’t need it, because the short fingers will not be able to reach the key.
The D-Waveline Flute has no trill keys either, so the instrument is even lighter and the fingers can hold the instrument more easily.
The Buttons on the keys are especially important: they make it possible for the small hands to reach all keys easily. A special construction of the C key serves the index finger of the left hand, which is still very short.
Mechanics modified with finger buttons
The C-Waveline Flute is designed for the 7 or 8 year olds – according to the span of their hands.
It has a foot joint, so its range goes down to low c (c1).
It has the same keys as a big straight flute, but it is shortened by the waveline bend.
Therefore, it will be possible to play the flute without bending the spine, without drawing up the shoulders, and without having tensions in the neck. And that should stay like that for as long as possible. At the age of about 11, you could think of using a straight head joint.
Since the C-Waveline Flute is an absolutely high-quality instrument, there is no hurry for that. To change too early would be fatal for one’s health and for the development of the playing technique.
(The situation was different with flutes with a so-called U-shaped head joint: they had so many shortcomings that a change at a too early stage seemed necessary.)
As soon as the teacher decides to change to a straight head joint, Jupiter offers an “Extention Set” at a very low price.
It consists of
- a coupling part, which extends the flute in the middle,
- a straight head joint,
- a new case,
- and an appropriate cover.
In this way, you can provide your child with a “regular” instrument after a few years without paying too much.
Another important hint!
Nowadays, you can buy cheap flutes online or even sometimes at the supermarket. Please, don’t do that!
You wouldn’t buy a bicycle with a jammed chain either, which you can use only for three months and which cannot be repaired!
No expert retailer will be ready to repair those flutes, in most cases those flutes never really work satisfactorily from the very beginning, or they work only for a short period of time. A flute which does not work well will immediately lead to cramps, since you try by force to produce beautiful sounds.
It is very important to trust your expert retailer, who will be able to repair the instrument in case of possible “accidents” and to maintain it every year.