When looking to purchase a student flute most people automatically search for a metal instrument, as this is the most common material for modern flutes to be made from. But did you know that there is a plastic range of flutes which are growing in popularity in the student market due to a number of reasons. Keeping reading below for more information about the benefits of both materials!

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At Normans we stock the Nuvo range of plastic flutes that come in a range of bright colours, which are aimed primarily at younger players. These flutes are the same size and have the same keywork as a traditional (metal) flute, and can be bought with either a straight head joint or a curved head joint, making them suitable for players as young as 5.

One of the main bonuses of the plastic flute is the weight; plastic flutes are noticeably lighter than their metal counterparts, weighing a mere 255g in comparison to a traditional student flute which can weigh over twice as much! This may not be a big difference for a teenager or adult, but can make a big difference to younger or smaller players who can struggle to support the weight of a metal flute whilst maintaining a good posture.

Another reason the Nuvo flutes are a great option for young players is that they are very easy to clean. All of the Nuvo plastic instruments are designed so that they can be fully submerged in water for cleaning, although we usually recommend that warm soapy water and a small bottle brush will do the trick – unless a “deep clean” is required!

The Nuvo flutes also offer a certain level of customisation, allowing for adjustments to be made to make the flute comfortable to play from a beginner level up to a more advancing student. The instrument is supplied with removable key extensions to help little fingers and a “firstnote” lip plate which helps beginners to produce a good sound from the start.

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If you opt to purchase a metal flute to learn with we stock a wide range of excellent student options, to take players from the beginning up to a good level of musicianship. Like the plastic flute, the more traditional flutes are available to purchase with either a straight or curved head joint, allowing smaller children to learn to play. One bonus of the traditional flutes is that if you purchased one with a curved head joint, such as the Sonata Student Curved Head Flute, they are often supplied with the straight joint too allowing the student to continue with the same instrument as they grow.

The benefit of purchasing a metal flute is that it is likely to last longer in terms of progression than the plastic alternatives. A student would likely be able to make their way through a few graded exams with a student metal flute before having to think about upgrading to a more intermediate model, whereas the plastic flutes are excellent for beginners but you would possibly need to upgrade sooner in order to progress in exams, as your playing ability would outgrow a plastic instrument more quickly.

If you are wondering how different the sound produced is on the two types of material then you may be pleasantly surprised. When we first reviewed the plastic flutes back in 2014, the tone of the plastic flutes came close to that of the metal student flutes we stock and was fairly free blowing, which might encourage children to keep practising as they know they will make a decent sound (as well as looking quite funky!). However, a student with a Nuvo flute may start to notice the difference in sound when they start playing in ensembles, as the two instrument sounds may not blend together as seamlessly as the sounds of two flutes of the same material!

With the Nuvo Plastic Flutes coming in at £120, and the affordable Sonata Metal Student Flute a snip more at £132 there is a flute for everyone and every budget! (Prices correct as of June 2016).

Whichever flute you decide to buy, please feel free to look through our full range and read through some more of our woodwind blogs to discover more about the flute.

Or if you would prefer to talk to us in person, you can call our Sales Team on 01283 535333 (option 1).

About the author

A graduate from the University of Huddersfield Music Department, Isabelle has played both Clarinet and Saxophone for over 13 years, in many ensembles both in the Staffordshire area and at university, and currently performs in a function band. With her experience of woodwind and performance, this is obviously what she loves to write about.

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