Now that you have established good posture and breath control, and have some experience with playing various rhythms on your headjoint, you are ready for the next phase, playing the assembled flute.
Before you can play your flute you have to put it together, and though it may seem obvious how to fit the three pieces together, there are some things you should be aware of.
We’ll start with the headjoint.
Before we assemble the headjoint to the body of your flute, take a closer look at it. Notice the rounded cap on the end nearest to the blow hole? That is used to tune the flute. Since your flute is probably already in tune it would be a good idea for you to leave that alone for now.
The relation of the blow hole to the keys is important. If you misalign the hole, your hands will not be able to form a good playing position because they will either be reaching over the flute, or they will bend backwards.
For most players, aligning the back, far edge of the blow hole with the center of the keys is the best position. About one in four players will be more comfortable with aligning the center of the blow hole with the keys, but for now stick with the far edge.
To put the two parts together, grip each piece close to the assembly point – as close as you can – and slowly wiggle them together, pushing gently. Only allow your hands to touch the smooth cylindrical sections of the flute and do not clasp any of the moving parts. Rods and keys are easily bent and expensive to straighten. Bent keys cause leaks resulting in poor tone quality. The pieces should slide together easily. If you are having trouble or are having to use force to get them together, try cleaning the joint with a little alcohol. If you are sill having trouble, then you should probably take your instrument to a repair shop and have it examined.
Some flutes have little cut marks by the joints which, when aligned, will work as a good starting point. If your flute has these marks, use them.
The remaining piece is called the foot joint. It too needs to be properly aligned because your right hand pinky uses it almost all the time. Notice it has a single rod on it. To assemble the foot joint properly, the ball on the end of the rod needs to be aligned with the middle of the keys on the body of the flute – in other words, the rod needs to be on top, which will make the holes seem to be draping down either side of the foot joint.
When you are certain your flute is assembled properly, you are ready for the next lesson.
Prev lesson: More Rhythm
Next lesson: Holding the flute