Finding a new instrument can be really daunting and you might not know where to start. Here are some tips I have for finding your perfect instrument:
Before Flute Shopping:
1) Set a budget before starting to look at instruments.
2) Decide between these options: used instruments, upgrading your headjoint or getting an entirely new instrument.
3) Find a reputable dealer! You want to make sure they are not pushing you to buy an instrument that is more advanced than you need (which obviously has a higher price tag). Also, you want to make sure they're not pushing certain brands. They should be willing to work with you to find the best instrument for you and will put in the time to do that.
I personally recommend The Flute Center of New York. They have all flute brands and are really dedicated to help you find an instrument that is perfect for you.
If you mention "Gina", you'll get:
1) free extended trial (they will send you flutes to try by mail!)
2) free shipping
3) extended warranty!
1) Look at ALL brands of flutes! Everyone sounds different on every instrument. What works for your teacher or friend might not work for you at all. It's best to go in with an open mind when trying flutes.
2) Once you've tried a many brands, narrow it down to your favorites. Then try different headjoints and options within each brand.
3) Try to now narrow it down to 5 flutes. You're next step is playing them for your teacher and colleagues to get their opinion. I like to name them #1, #2 etc. so it is a completely blind test. I also will play 4 contrasting pieces/excerpts on each one to demonstrate their capabilities. Pick pieces/excerpts that show contrasting dynamics, articulations and tone colors.
Picking The Right Flute:
1) Make sure that this flute is not limiting for you and it provides the resistance you need! You should not need to "hold back" on this flute.
2) Does it play relatively in tune? Take out a tuner and check. Of course every flute has a different scale and is not 100% in tune (you'll have to make adjustments). You are just looking for major tuning issues.
3) Does it project well? It should give you considerably more volume and overtones than your last flute. Make sure you're supporting (think someone is going to punch you in the gut) when testing this!
Once You Purchase Your Instrument:
1) Get insurance on your new flute!
2) Take good care of it by keeping it clean and getting it worked on regularly.