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I just got a new flute- a good quality Yamaha that was quite expensive. I would love to say that it plays perfectly-but unfortunately, that's not quite the case.

Whenever I play it, it sounds a little raspy/wispy, and the notes aren't very clear. I haven't played it very much, and someone has advised me that because the flute is new, it needs time for all the pads to adjust. When I start to practice it more, it will start to sound better. The same person also told me that because the flute is more advanced than my beginner flute, I need to focus my air and play stronger, or with more air.

I did try to practice more (although I still haven't practiced it that much), and the tone quality does improve when I sit up straighter and hold my flute at a certain angle (I read an article with tips to improve tone).

However, I kind of need to know- will practicing it (or the other tips that I have been given/I have found) work to improve the flute's tone? Or is there a problem and will I need to send the new flute back?

Please also advise any more tips to improve tone quality, if you have any. Thank you so much!! Good day!!

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    By any chance, did the upgrade involve changing from a flute with no open hole keys to one that does have some open whole keys? Apr 26, 2018 at 1:57

3 Answers 3

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Practicing only helps when it is done correctly. The problems are likely not due to your flute, but are most likely due to your embouchure or posture/breathing, throat openness, etc. You need a good teacher to help you learn how to produce a good quality sound throughout the whole register of the flute. An in-person teacher is especially important for helping to identify posture issues and also demonstrate first-hand proper breathing and such. A second option is to try a skype lesson. I don't think it is as useful as an in-person teacher, but would be better than trying to interpret words or videos online. You really need someone to look at what you are doing. Advanced players can make a lousy instrument sound great, but a fantastic instrument cannot make a beginner sound amazing.

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Yes, practice will improve tone. At least, good practice will.

I'm not a flute player, but I did buy a new saxophone last year. Went from an Armstrong student model that was very old, to a new Yamaha YTS-62. It took me some time to unlearn habits, and start getting a better tone on the new instrument. I don't see why that won't be the case for a flute. Particularly if you haven't been playing for very long.

The best tip I can give is to find either a teacher, or a friendly flute player with a bit more experience. They will be much more help that random people on the internet. They will be able to play your flute, and tell you if there's anything physically wrong with it. If there's a local community concert band or orchestra, they might have someone who can help you. Of course, quality will vary; you'll find brilliant musicians, and those who could be better characterised as flute owners than flute players. Paying money for a teacher is more likely to get a better quality of musician (although not always).

There are also some existing questions on this site that might help you. Here's a couple I found with a quick search:

To be fair, the answers do tend to be"practice more".

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Practising is not going to improve the tone of your flute. Assuming it's working properly and hasn't been damaged in transit, a brand new flute sounds as good as it's ever going to sound, however it might take you a while to adjust to a different embouchure hole. If the flute is not working properly, no amount of practice will make it better.
Practising, assuming you're doing it correctly, will improve your ability to get a good sound out of any flute.

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  • A player will only get the best out of any instrument if they've got good technique. You can't possibly say that the tone is the best it's ever going to be until an experienced flute player has played the same flute and can tell whether the problem is with the flute or the player. If I played a Stradivarius violin it would sound absolutely appalling, but that's because I've no idea how to play violin, not because the instrument is bad. Apr 24, 2022 at 9:44
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    @SteveMansfield Of course I'm assuming that a brand new instrument will be working properly. But whether it is or isn't working properly, practising on it is not going to improve the flute. That's what the question asks.
    – PiedPiper
    Apr 24, 2022 at 11:58

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