Welcome to this week’s edition of Flute Friday! Let’s shop.
Several weeks ago I posted a blog on some of my favorite flute books in a series entitled “Flute Favorites.” Today’s blog is the second blog in the Flute Favorites Series covering some of my all-time favorite Flute Swag. Flute Swag refers to all of the gadgets and gismos I have loved in the past and some that are relatively new to me. As an undergraduate student, I would often pocket a portion of my summer earnings to purchase these items from Flute World. As I review my collection of flute accessories now in my adult years I find that I still use some of the same items I scrimped and saved to buy in my younger years. These are all staples, standbys and new favorites. Hope they inspire you to update or revive your own collections of flute swag.
Peak Music Stand – This fold up music stand has been by my side throughout places far and wide – apartment practicing, home office practicing, children’s concerts, outdoor concert venues, flute choir rehearsals – you name it! The Peak Music Stand is much lighter than a typical Massenet stand and folds up into a sleek carrying bag. Unlike metal music stands, this stand includes two smaller plastic pieces on the front of the stand to keep your music in place and can be adjusted in two different places to fit to the proper height (without the slowly falling motion that occurs when metal stands are past their expiration date). This stand looks professional, is easily transportable and extremely functional.
Altieri Double Pocket Flute Bag – I purchased this bag 13 years ago and use it to this very day (even with the holes I have worn out in the bottom of the outer pockets). The Altieri bag is the most practical bag on the market. The inside cushioned pocket features places to secure both your flute and piccolo and the outside pockets conveniently hold your accessories (flute stands, metronome, tuner, phone, laptop, earplugs, etc.) and your music (including most oversized pieces and heavy music folders). I have stuffed my bag to the gills in my graduate and doctoral careers and lugged it halfway across the country. I still have not found a bag more reliable or practical than the Altieri bag.
Filigree Engraved Triple Base – This instrument stand is perfect for those of you that perform in a flute choir or must switch between multiple instruments in larger group settings. Like the Peak Music Stand, this instrument stand is portable yet attractive and stands (pardon the pun) the test of time. Purchase the base and pegs for your piccolo, C-Flute and alto flute. Although it does not fold as easily as the less expensive brands this stand is gorgeous, sturdy and perfect for the stage.
Yamaha Pad Cleaning Paper – This is for all of those times when spit get between your pads and tone hole openings momentarily sounding a wrong note. Traditionally cigarette paper is a cheaper option to remove condensation but these Yamaha Pad Cleaning papers are a bit bigger in size therefore requiring only one sheet per tone hole. Simply place the sheet between the pad and the tone hole, press gently on the key and carefully slide the paper out to clear any spit. I prefer to use these during performances to discretely clear out any spit that may collect on the pads between pieces.
Sabine Zipbeat Metronome – You probably expected me to write something about the Dr. Beat metronome and I might have if my Dr. Beat was not stolen from a practice room in Minnesota three short months after I had purchased it 😦 but I have found that my good, old Sabine metronome has served me just as well over the years (goodbye, Dr. Beat). Even with the numerous metronome apps out on the market I still prefer this metronome because I can easily scroll to my desired tempo using the dial function and the louder than normal beat clicks make keeping tempo in harsh dynamic ranges much easier. I have crushed the dial one or two (or ten) times in the past so if you decide to add this device to your collection, try to be a bit more gentle than I was.
Flute Gels – This may just be the third time on my blog that I have raved about Flute Gels. I am fairly rough on my flute blister and try as I might I have not been able to break my bad habit of applying too much pressure between the left hand first finger and the side of the instrument. When I discovered Flute Gels I found the answer to my prayers. Flute Gels are quite literally gel cushions that you stick to the side of your flute with a bit of adhesive backing. Not too worry – the adhesive is removable with a touch of soap and water. These have erased the pain I used to feel after longer hours in the practice room and have improved the condition of my flute blister. They are also useful for students whose hand position may be a bit off. When students have a comfortable place to rest their left hand index fingers and/or their right hand thumb they will likely establish a good hand position routine for years to come.
Do you have Flute Swag that you have loved over the years? What are your favorite flute accessories? Have you used the above products? What were your impressions of these products? Please comment below!