Practice Flutes


   • Several musical traditions, notably that of Scots piping, have practice instruments which allow beginners to acquire the basic skills with out the outlay of money required to get a 'proper' instrument. Practice flutes serve as instruments suitable for children, or for those who want to experiment with playing the flute before committing themselves to the much more expensive 'real thing'.

    • I had the idea of producing an instrument like this many years ago, stimulated by being asked to teach a flute class, which when I arrived on the first night turned out to have no flutes! On that occasion I quickly produced the original practice flute from plastic tubing salvaged from a builder's yard, but these instruments, crude as they were, allowed a whole group of children an introduction to the world of the flute, and a considerable number of them eventually became accomplished traditional players.

  1. Since then I have completely redesigned the practice flute, and it is now made of aluminium tubing with a nylon mouth piece, which I have recently redesigned to make the practice flute more responsive and with better internal tuning These flutes have finger hole sizes and spacing which very closely approach those of the wooden flute so that if and when the player begins to play the 'real' flute there will no need for a period of re-adjustment. The blowing technique is also similar, and in fact the practice flute is designed to respond well to the undeveloped embouchure of the beginner, while at the same time producing a better tone and volume for those who make progress in this direction.

  2. There are important differences between the Hamilton Practice Flute, and other "beginner" flutes. The design of the head, which is different in several crucial ways from other beginner flutes, ensures that the flute is in tune with itself over more than two octaves, and also the depth of the embouchure means that the player learns to develop a proper blowing technique, which means a seamless transfer to a wooden flute, when the time comes. It also gives the loud and clear tone for which these flutes are well known.

• In fact, for young children, these flutes act as an ideal introduction to the blowing technique of the transverse flute in a general sense, no matter whether the child intends to play classical or traditional music at a later stage.

• The practice flute is available in concert pitch - D, or for small children, a much smaller flute in G can be ordered. Normally, children from the age of 10 or so will be able for the concert pitch practice flute.

  1. Prices:  Flutes in D and G are both €85 including P & P



A practice flute, showing the fingerhole sizes and spacing.

Head showing the embouchure. The joint is movable, and functions as a basic tuning slide. It also allows adjustment of the line up between the embouchure and finger holes.