In the world of pop music, flutes are having a bit of a revival. Bands like Genesis, Heart, and Jethro Tull have featured jazz flute in the past, but in the last few decades, the flute wasn’t considered an instrument that took center stage for popular music. However, artists like Lizzo are bringing this shiny woodwind back into the spotlight and creating a buzz around jazz flutes again.
History of the Flute
The flute is a centuries old instrument. Transverse flutes, which look more like a recorder, were some of the first versions of the flute from the Paleolithic era and were made of animal bones. However during the Renaissance period, a prototype of what we know as the flute was created. Since the Renaissance period, the flute has undergone numerous advancements. Keys were not used on early flutes. Flutes of the Renaissance period were very basic in design, having a cylindrical body, mouthpiece, and seven finger holes. They could also only create a limited number of semitones. Flutes with a conical body and a single key began to appear in the later part of the seventeenth century. For the first time, almost all semitones could be played on the flute using this method. This instrument is now known as a “baroque flute.” In 1847 Theobald Boehm created a revolutionary new flute design; a metal flute with numerous keys attached that allowed for more accurate tones. This is what we now know as the modern day flute.
The Flute is a Versatile Instrument
Contrary to popular belief, the flute can be quite versatile. Students who choose to play flute won’t be limited to playing in a classical wind band. Flute is often featured in music genres like rock, pop, hip-hop, and jazz as well. Some examples of mainstream music that features flute includes:
- About Damn Time – Lizzo
- Everything Now – Arcade Fire
- Nah Nah Nah – Kanye West
- Physical – Dua Lipa
- Another Star – Stevie Wonder
- Down Under – Men at Work
- Firth of Fifth – Genesis
- Crazy on You – Heart
- Aqualung – Jethro Tull
Playing Flute Could Make Way For Learning Other Instruments
One of the benefits of learning how to play flute is that the skills you learn can be easily transferred to a few other instruments. The flutes smaller, more high-pitched sister, the piccolo, uses similar embouchure, fingerings, and is in the same key. Piccolo does produce a much higher sound, but many flute players also play piccolo with great ease. Many people are also surprised that flute players can easily transfer their skills to the saxophone. While the embouchure is not the same, the fingerings are very similar. It is actually very common for experienced jazz musicians to play both saxophone and jazz flute. So, if you’re interested in playing in a jazz band one day, learning flute can open the door for saxophone. You may also find that building skills in both flute and saxophone also opens the door for learning clarinet with ease.
Other Benefits of Learning The Flute
The flute is an excellent instrument for beginners to learn. It is small, lightweight, and does not require an upgrade in size as the child grows. Playing flute allows students to learn to read treble clef music. Flute has a wide range of tones, so players will learn how to read music both above and below the music staff. Since the instrument is small, it is easy to transport to and from school which can be a huge plus for students who ride the bus or walk to school.
Flute Rental from CIOMIT
If you’re ready to start learning to play jazz flute or any style of flute music, you can start by renting one! Flute rental provides the opportunity to explore the instrument and determine if it’s a good fit before committing to purchasing an expensive instrument. Instrument rentals from CIOMIT make it easy. The Rent+ program is a month-to-month rental that can stop anytime by returning the instrument to the store. Students can also exchange instruments as many times as they want until they find what suits them without penalty. Learn more about rentals from CIOMIT online!