Have you been playing the flute for a while? Are you ready too up-level your playing with an intermediate flute? Consider if upgrading is right for you!
A good flute is crucial at any level of learning the instrument. Before you drop thousands on a step-up model, you should know if it’s a good option for you and how to choose the right one.
Before we get into it, this post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure to learn more.
Reasons to Upgrade to an Intermediate Flute
If you’ve been playing a student flute for a while, you may want to get something better. But just wanting a better flute isn’t a reason to actually go out and buy one.
Before you spend the money on a new instrument consider some of the best reasons to make the investment.
Your Sound Feels Stuck
If you struggle to get the sound that you want from your flute, you may be ready for an upgrade to an intermediate model. Maybe you can’t get as warm of a tone as you want, or you sound a bit stuffy.
Either way, having a flute with either more solid silver and/or better manufacturing may help. That way, you can have a flute of good quality that can support you as you continue learning how to play.
Think about how you sound and really listen to yourself. If you’re pretty happy with your sound, you may want to wait to upgrade. But if your sound is keeping you from enjoying playing, look for something better.
Your Goals Necessitate an Upgrade
You may need to upgrade to an intermediate flute if you have certain goals. For example, when I transferred to a four-year school, the flute professor said I needed a flute with a solid silver headjoint and open holes.
If you’re going into music school or graduate school for music, ask your future professor if they have any instrument requirements. You can also ask your current flute teacher if they think you’re ready for an upgrade.
Then, you can make sure you will benefit from the instrument. And if not, you won’t have to spend thousands of dollars.
Your Music Needs It
Sometimes, you may need an intermediate flute because of the music you play. Even the best student models don’t always have open holes or a low B key. If you play a lot of music from the past century, you may need those features.
More and more pieces for flute use the low B, and composers may not know that some flutes can’t play that note. Composers are also starting to use microtones, which are notes between semi-tones, like A and Bb.
If you play or want to play music using those techniques, you’ll need an open hole flute. Upgrading to an intermediate or even a professional model is the best way to fill that need.
Your Budget Allows for It
I’m not one to say you should go in debt for an instrument. But if you can afford to upgrade to an intermediate flute, try some out. At the intermediate level and above, it’s crucial to choose a flute you like.
While it may be tempting to just buy one, you risk buying one that won’t work for you and your playing style. If you live near a music store or a repair tech who sells flutes, go in-person to test some out.
Otherwise, you can order a trial online and get the flutes sent to you. Then, you’ll be able to test a few models in your budget to find the perfect one for you.
Best Intermediate Flute Models
If you’re ready to upgrade to an intermediate flute, you should know where to start. You can find a lot of great step-up models, but some may be a better fit for you than others.
Be sure to look for a flute with at least some solid silver. You don’t need the whole flute to be solid silver, but the lip plate and riser are a good start, as well as the entire headjoint.
It also helps to look for a flute with a handmade headjoint. The headjoint can have a big effect on the sound, and handmade headjoints are usually some of the best.
With that being said, here are some of the best intermediate flutes on the market:
- Lyric Artisan (the intermediate flute I played/own)
- Pearl 665
- Pearl 795
- Yamaha 462
- Di Zhao 700
- Azumi AZ2
- Trevor James Cantabile
Give those flutes a try to find one that suits your needs. Then, you’ll be able to keep advancing as a flute player.
When to Wait and Get a Professional Flute
Intermediate flutes are great because they provide a bridge between student and professional models. But there may be a few times when it makes sense to keep playing your beginner flute.
Then, when you’re ready to upgrade, you can go straight for a professional instrument.
You Don’t Have That Many Issues
If you like the sound and feel of your flute, it doesn’t make sense to upgrade now. As long as you take care of it and take it to a repair tech regularly, you can get a lot of use out of a student flute.
Sometimes, the cost of a few extra maintenance sessions may be less than that of an intermediate flute. And you won’t have to worry about buying a flute that you won’t love.
You’re Already in Music School
It also makes sense to wait for a professional flute if you’re already pursuing a music degree. If you want to make music your career, buying an intermediate flute can be a waste of money.
You’d be better off saving up and upgrading directly to a professional model. Then, you’ll be able to get the best sound, and you will be able to use your new flute for much longer in and out of school.
You Don’t Want to Keep Buying Flutes
I went from playing on a cheap Amazon flute to my current professional model within about six years. Of course, if you start playing the flute earlier, you may not upgrade as frequently.
But if you get an intermediate flute, it may not last you that long. Even if a performance career isn’t in your future, you may want to get a flute with better specs or of a higher-quality. Sometimes, it makes sense to wait and get the best of the best and buy a new flute once.
Will You Upgrade to an Intermediate Flute?
Upgrading to an intermediate flute is a big decisions. You have some experience under your belt, and you want a better sound or feel. Be sure to consider why you want a better flute and if it’s worth upgrading.
If not, you can wait it out and play your current model. Then, when you are ready, you may be able to jump straight to a professional flute.
Are you looking for some intermediate flute music? Download 12 Flute-y Etudes!