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9 Accessories Every Flute Player Needs

There is so much information out there about the basic must-have items for flute players, and some items are more necessary than others. You want to be able to take care of your flute, practice comfortably, and and have fun making music! Check out these items that you must have in order to have it all:


 

1. Carrying Case


If you are practicing or performing flute outside of your home, you want a protective case that is easy to carry. Most flutes come with a standard hard case that is one layer of protection for your instrument, but not always easy to carry without a handle or strap to hold on to. A carrying case can add a second layer of protection for your instrument while it's in the case to avoid damage from nudges or falls. Plus, they usually have handles or an adjustable strap to make it easier to carry and free up your hands.




2. Cleaning Rod


Did you know that some flutes come with a cleaning rod and others don't? A cleaning rod is a basic maintenance tool to keep your flute clean and to check your tuning cork alignment. Flutes need to be swabbed inside every time it's played to avoid bacteria build up and funky smells. Most flute cases have a built-in compartment inside for you to keep your cleaning rod safe and there every time you need it.




3. Cleaning Cloth


This goes hand-in-hand with the cleaning rod. The cleaning cloth swabs the inside of your flute to keep it moisture-free and avoid bacteria build up. Many people will use an old t-shirt scrap, but those can wear out easily. Buying a proper flute cleaning cloth that is more durable and washer friendly can save you time in shredding and replacing an old t-shirt over and over again. You can find a cleaning cloth at your local music store or online from flute retailers like Flute Center of New York.



4. Polishing Cloth


Yes, this is different from a cleaning cloth. A polishing cloth is for the outside of the flute to wipe down dirt, fingerprints, and general grime from the flute. This is different from a silver polishing cloth, which is abrasive and can leave scratches all over the outside of your flute! Usually made from microfiber or other smooth materials, a polishing cloth can help keep your flute shiny and less sticky, especially if you often play outdoors.




5. Flute Stand


An instrument stand is a great accessory to have for practicing and rehearsing. They can hold your flute and keep it upright whenever you want to take a break without packing up your flute, resting for long stretches in rehearsal, or switching between other instruments. As a teacher I'm constantly switching between playing and talking, so my flute stand is always out and within reach. Sturdier flute stands are also weighed down enough that you don't have to worry about it falling over on its own.


Hercules makes lots of different flute stands with interchangeable pegs, meaning you can prop up your piccolo, C flute, and alto flute on the same stand with the same sturdiness!



6. Music Stand


A good music stand is a must for any flute player to have comfortable practice sessions at home. Propping your music up on pillows, tables, and dressers can force you to play in uncomfortable positions and build bad playing habits. Sure, you can save some money on a wire stand or foldable stand, but they're not always stable enough to hold heavy or oversized music. My favorite stand is the Manhasset stand, which is used by most music programs and professional ensembles. It's on the pricier side, but you won't ever need to replace it. I've had mine for 14 years and it still looks brand new.



7. Music Stand-Out Extenders


This accessory is more of a "splurge if you want" item. These extenders slide onto both sides of a metal music stand and literally extend the space you have to place sheet music on the stand. This is great when you have solos or pieces that are more than 2 pages long or have really bad page turns. I have at least one student use these extenders on every studio recital, and I use it when I'm not using my iPad for sheet music. When you don't need them, you can easily slide them off or in all the way so the stand is like normal.




8. Mini Screwdriver


Let me preface this by saying that you should only make screw adjustments on your flute if you are a professional and know what you're doing! Personally, I've learned to fix minor leaks on my flute and my students' flutes from years of experience. I do encourage my students to carry their own mini screwdriver with their flute case in the event that they are with a professional who knows what they're doing. A mini screwdriver can save you trips to the local repair technician for quick fixes.




9. Ear Plugs


Ear health and protection is something that isn't always talked about for flute players and musicians in general. If you regularly play in large ensembles your ears are consistently exposed to high decibel levels that can damage your hearing over time. You may worry that wearing ear plugs may affect how you hear yourself and the rest of the ensemble, but luckily science has made progress on this front. There are ear plugs specifically designed to lower the decibel level while still maintaining the quality of the sounds you're hearing. My favorite ear plug on the market is Vibes, which was designed for rock concert goers to protect their ears without compromising the music. It works just as well for musicians and I recommend these to anyone who can hear!




BONUS: Music Stand Shelf


Sometimes it's difficult to keep your music stand from overcrowding, especially if you have a pencil, note pad, phone, iPad, metronome... My absolute favorite accessory is this music stand shelf. You can attach it to any part of the music stand base and remove it when you need to. It's big enough to hold my writing utensils, phone, sticky notes, metronome, and it's even big enough to hold a piccolo (as long as that's the only thing on the shelf). It's super sturdy and won't go flying if you accidentally bump or nudge it.




Final Flute Notes


There are a lot of great accessories out there to help you take care of you, your flute, and to support your practice sessions. Cleaning supplies are non-negotiable, and while some of these accessories might be optional, they're worth giving a try and making your musical life a little easier!


Do you like these tips? Check out the blog and our Instagram page for more stuff!

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