Here are some of my favorite flute gadgets. I don’t have any connection to or interest in these companies, except that I love the products and hope they stay in production for a long time so that I can use and recommend them to my students.
Scroll down to see reviews of:
- Piccolo Flag
- Case Closed Flute Cases
- Altieri Flute and Laptop Bag
- Zonda Woodwind Drying Papers
The one accessory that is essential for anyone with a piccolo is a Piccolo Flag. The piccolo flag is a thin microfiber cloth glued onto a skinny rod used to absorb the condensation from inside the piccolo. I love that the cloth does not bunch up or get caught in the piccolo and I don’t have to take the piccolo apart to dry it. The small size of the piccolo means that a little bead of condensation inside can make a big difference in how it plays. It is also very easy to clean (I use a gel-like hand soap or dish washing liquid, rinse and air dry). I have a one-piece piccolo flag that I leave out at home and a two-piece flag that came with my Burkart piccolo that I keep in the piccolo case.
The Thumbalina and Thumbport are devices used to aid in balancing the flute. Both of these devices help the flutist balance the flute on the right thumb. This prevents the flutist from developing a death-grip on the flute with the right hand. And it frees the fingers to move easily for quick technique. (Just try tensing your Thumb now and then try to move the other 4 fingers quickly. Now relax your thumb and move your fingers. See? Easy thumb = easy technique!) The Thumbalina is made of cork and it is attached to the flute via double-sided tape. It creates a kind of shelf so that the flute can rest on the thumb without rolling backwards for easy balancing. The Thumbport is a plastic device that can be removed and repositioned quickly and easily. It also assists in balancing the flute on the thumb. The Thumbalina is easy to use but it’s not as easy to move around and once you attach it to your flute, you don’t want to take it off. But once you find that perfect spot for the Thumbalina, it’s great. The Thumbport can be easily removed and moved around but it’s not as easy to figure out how to use them. It takes some patience and experimentation. Depending on which device you get, some modification to your flute case may be required if you want to keep one of these attached to your flute while in the case.
Once of my favorite flute cases is made by Case Closed Flute Cases. It’s very rugged and protects my flute very well. But the most attractive part is that it can be locked. At airports, I have had to let airport security inspect my flute case. I have heard horror stories of regular flute cases being opened upside down, etc. With my Case Closed case, I lock the compartment that contains the flute. If they want to open it, they have to wait for me to give them the key. I then have time to calmly explain that I can unlock it, it’s a flute, very valuable and I’d like a supervisor there, etc.
My current flute bag is the Altieri Flute and Laptop Bag (#100). It’s has backpack straps and comes with a shoulder strap. The backpack straps can be tucked away if you don’t want to use it as a backpack but the backpack straps are so comfortable that I only use it as a backpack. There is a compartment for sheetmusic and a laptop. The main compartment has two pouches: one for the flute and another that can fit a piccolo (I use it to hold my water bottle sometimes).
Zonda woodwind drying papers are one of my favorites for absorbing condensation from flute/piccolo keys. They are thicker than cigarette papers and absorbs water very well without falling apart.
I’ll be sure to add more of my favorite gadgets soon!
Just a few notable flute makers and dealers. This is, of course, not a complete list. I’m just listing a few that I think are really great.
- Burkart Flutes (I play a Burkart piccolo)
- Hogenhuis Flutes (I play a Hogenhuis quartertone contrabass flute)
- Kingma Flutes (I play a Kingma bass flute)
- Miyazawa Flutes (Areon Flutes are Miyazawa Artists!)
- Muramatsu Flutes
- Nagahara Flutes
- Pearl Flutes (I play a Pearl contrabass flute and alto flute)
- Sankyo Flutes (I play a Sankyo Kingma system flute)
- West Valley Music (Mountain View, CA) – The best music store in Mountain View. The best store for flutes and flute related items in the Peninsula and the South Bay.
- Flute Specialists (Royal Oak, MI)
- Flute World (Farmington Hills, MI) – One of the biggest flute/flute music stores in the country.
- Carolyn Nussbaum Music (Plano, TX)
- Weiner Music (Minelola, NY) – Woodwind specialists
- Palo Alto Violins – (650) 327-8465 – (345 N California Ave, Palo Alto, CA)
- Kamimoto Strings (San Jose, CA)
- Rolland Feller Violins (San Francisco, CA)
- Ifshin Violins (Berkeley, CA)
- Cellos 2 Go (Schenectady, NY)
- Shar Music (Ann Arbor, MI)