With back to school season coming up, I thought it would be fun to tell you guys about what I keep in my flute bag. As an aspiring professional flutist, I like to keep a lot of stuff on hand.
Now, if you are just taking lessons for fun, you may not need everything here. If you are a music major, you are just curious about what I use, this post is for you.
Without further ado, here is what I keep in my flute bag.
About the Bag
The flute bag I used to use is the ProTec Flute Gig Bag. I got it for a decent price from a local music store, but you can find it online. The bag comes in different colors, such as black, blue, and purple.
I went with black, because black goes with everything, and it blends in on stage. I love being able to keep my case with me during performances, and you can’t do that with a bright colored bag.
I’ve since upgraded to a Fluterscooter bag and now an Altieri bag. All are excellent options for flute players.
Um, duh. It is a flute bag. So I have to keep my flute in it. I have a Lyric Artisan Flute but have since upgraded to a Pearl Cantabile, which I love. Lyric flutes are a branch of Miyazawa, similar to the Powell Sonare line, for you flute nerds.
Meanwhile, Pearl makes flutes for beginners through professionals. The Pearl is all solid silver, but the specific flute I got has rose gold plating. It also features a C# trill key, which is useful for many things.
My Lyric flute has a silver head joint and a silver plated body, foot joint, and mechanism. I have a B foot, a split E mechanism, an offset G, and the more common features that you see on flutes.
I do keep my flute in its own case, because the bag doesn’t have the parts that keep a flute in place like a normal case. My flute is in its French style case, which means a case that doesn’t have a handle or any exterior storage.
I have multiple piccolos, and I’ll use the best one for the gig at hand. My oldest piccolo an Armstrong 204, which I used for marching band in college.
After graduating from college, I upgraded to a Pearl 105. It’s a composite model, so it sounds warmer than the Armstrong. I was playing in a community orchestra and couldn’t get the sound I wanted on an all metal model.
Near the end of my master’s program in 2020, I finally had the chance to upgrade to my own wood model. I settled on a Hammig 650/3, and it’s been my main piccolo for over two years as of this update.
If you are a serious flutist, you should consider investing in at least a student model piccolo. It will be greatly used, and the piccolo can open up many other doors than just the flute.
A few months after initially posting this blog post, I invested in my first (and so far only) alto flute. I went with a Pearl 201 since it was one of the cheapest options on the market.
Despite only being about 5′ 2″, I find straight headjoints more comfortable than curved ones. So I went with an alto flute that just had a straight headjoint, and I haven’t regretted that decision.
Now, my alto flute doesn’t fit in the ProTec or Fluterscooter bags I own. However, it does fit in my Altieri. I specifically got the alto combo traveler so that I could carry all three of my instruments at once.
Flute Cleaning Cloths
I probably have more cloths than the normal person, but I need all of them. For my flute, I have and use four different cloths at least once a week.
The first cloth is a swabbing cloth. I use it with a cleaning rod to swan out the inside of my flute. Since saliva and condensation collect in the flute, it is important to swab out your flute after playing it.
The second cloth I use daily is a polishing cloth. I use this to wipe off any dirt or finger prints that collect on my flute. Unfortunately, I can’t skimp here, because I have acidic sweat. My sweat has actually caused a bit of the silver plating on my Lyric to come off of my flute. I have to polish that model every time I play it.
Another cloth I use to polish my flute after the microfiber cloth is a plain cotton cloth. I don’t always use this cloth, but it is great for a second go over the head joint.
The last cloth I have is a two sided polishing cloth. It is meant to get the serious dirt and grime off of your flute. I only use it once or twice a week, and I don’t use it on my head joint. I did that once, and my lower lip had a slight discoloration for awhile.
Piccolo Cleaning Cloth
I do also have a piccolo swab. The swab is just a silk cloth that I bought off Amazon. I use it with the piccolo cleaning rod that came with my instrument.
A must have for me is a flute and/or piccolo stand. I have a bigger stand that stays in my room at home and smaller stands that can fit in my case for rehearsals and performances.
My flute stand is by Hercules; it is the travel size one. I also have a piccolo stand that is by K&M.
Instrument stands are awesome, because you don’t have to haphazardly put your instrument on a chair or table. You can safely put it on your stand and know that it will not get sat on or knocked off.
You need a pencil. Whether you have a private lesson or an ensemble rehearsal, a pencil will save your life. You can mark notes in your music, write down important dates, and much more.
Avoid using pens, because you can’t erase them. You never know if your teacher will want to make a change or if they might take a change out. If you are borrowing your music, you especially shouldn’t use pen. Borrowed music needs to be returned in good condition; pen doesn’t allow for that.
As a piccolo player, I have to have earplugs. When I am playing in the high register or just playing loudly, my ears need protection. I love and use Etymotic earplugs. They allow me to still hear what’s going on so I can tune to others, but they lower the volume of everything by a slight amount.
If you play piccolo or any other piercing instrument, you should own a pair of earplugs and actually use them. They will save your hearing.
What do you keep in your instrument case? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to sign up for the Killer Email Squad to get music tips and tricks sent directly to your inbox!