A couple of weeks ago, I shared my favorite supplies that every musician should have. Now, I’m going to get a bit more specific and share my favorite supplies for every flutist. It may seem like you don’t need a lot of equipment for such a small instrument, but there are some tools that will make your life easier.
Some of the tools on this list are necessary for every flute player and others are necessary for more advanced players but are helpful no matter your level. I have some tools that go with the flute and others that are nice accessories to have on hand for emergencies.
So, without further ado, let’s look at my list of supplies for every flutist.
Cleaning Cloth & Rod
A cleaning cloth for the inside of your flute is crucial to making your flute last longer without trips to the repair shop. You can use cotton or silk, though a silk cloth will get much wetter, because it won’t absorb as much moisture as quickly.
If you have an old cotton shirt, that can be used, just make sure you stitch up all of the sides so that thread doesn’t get stuck in the flute.
You also will need a rod to help the cloth move through the flute. There are rods made of plastic, wood, and metal. Wood and plastic are better than metal, since they won’t scratch the flute. Wood is the preferred material, but plastic rods can be cheaper and easier to come by.
A Good Case
Everyone should invest in a good quality case or a case and case cover. Most student flutes only come with a hardcover case with nowhere to store extra items or supplies. So, if possible, look for a good case to fit your flute or find a bag that can fit your current case.
Leaving a wet cleaning cloth in the case on top of the flute will almost negate the use of the cleaning cloth, because the moisture could go back into the flute. You also should not leave a cleaning rod in the flute either, if you can avoid it.
This is part of why I recommend the Trevor James 10x or the Di Zhao 200 to students, because both flutes come with a case that has an exterior pocket for your cleaning supplies. A good case or case cover will also last you longer than a cheap one that comes with most beginner models.
A polishing cloth for you flute will keep it looking good on the outside. It is not as important to have one from the start. But polishing off all of your finger prints and other miscellaneous marks will save your flute over time.
There are many different types of polishing cloths that you can purchase from cotton to microfiber. You should have a separate polishing cloth that you don’t put through your flute. That way you don’t have to polish the outside with the same cloth as the inside.
While it’s not necessary, a flute stand will help you in many ways as a flutist. You can buy a simple stand that can fit in the foot joint of your flute, though that’s not the best place to store it. There are also more expensive stands that are usually sturdier and have room for a piccolo or multiple flutes.
I have both a portable single flute stand that I keep in my case, and I have a bigger three peg stand for two flutes + piccolo that I keep and use in my practice area. Having a stand will save your flute.
If you don’t use a stand, you will have to carefully lay your flute somewhere if you need to use the restroom or do something else. That can work for some people, but you risk breaking the flute. Flute stands start at less than $20, so if flute is something you plan to continue with, just get a stand. Your flute will thank you.
Have you ever heard your flute make a clicking noise, particularly when you open a key? That is a sign of a sticky key. And yes, they are annoying. If you have this problem, it is nice to have some pad paper, or cigarette paper, on hand. Using the thin piece of paper, you can stick it under the problem key, depress the key a few times, and blot away the moisture.
You can buy official pad paper or use cigarette paper, because that works just as well. If you use cigarette paper, be sure you are legally allowed to purchase it or get your parent to do so. If you go for cigarette paper, try and get ungumed paper, which won’t have a sticky ridge on one end of the paper. For gumed paper, avoid that side or edge if you can’t find ungumed.
Some people, especially saxophone players, use dollar bills to help sticky pads. While that is convenient, dollar bills are a bit too tough on flute pads. So stick with thinner papers.
Most flute repairs should be done by a professional, but a screwdriver can be helpful in a pinch. If a screw is falling out, you can use a small screwdriver to put it back into place. Having access to a screwdriver is super nice in case you need it.
You can purchase an eye glasses repair kit, and the screwdriver will work for a flute. Or you can buy a special flute screwdriver. The one I have has two different tools. It has a screwdriver day a little tool on the other end t fix loose springs.
At the beginning of your flute playing journey, you won’t need a screwdriver, but it is nice if you play a lot. It can also come in handy if you teach and have students who have problems with their screws.
If you have recently upgraded to an open hole flute, you might need to practice getting used to it. Your flute probably came with a set of plugs. If not, see if you can borrow a set from a teacher or friend.
Plugs will fit inside the holes of your keys so that you can still play the flute. Plugs are also useful for more advanced players who have a flute with an “inline G” key. That is when the G key is lined up with other keys, requiring more of a reach from the player’s left hand.
Plugs make it less work to play, but they should be phased out over time.
Those are some of my favorite supplies that every flute player should have, or plan to have in the future. Did I miss anything? What are your favorite flute supplies? Comment below!
Thanks for reading!