Once the heat is on inside, lips get dry - a flute player’s nightmare!
I love using these to mark which pieces and exercises should be practised in a week. Makes them quick to find and hard to forget to practise. I wish all of my online students had these!
Post It Notes
Sometimes there is one very important goal to master in a piece. Having students write it on a post it note to stick on the page means it will be seen at every single practise.
Erasable Frixion Pens & Highlighters
My students love these. Using a different coloured pen to mark pieces every week makes goals easy to see and using something erasable is a must for music lessons.
When teaching in person, I give my young students stickers for pieces they have mastered. Having stickers close by to stick on a piece mastered in online lessons gives the student the same sense of accomplishment.
These are great for playing music games with young students. The bigger the better so students don’t waste valuable lesson time looking for them under the couch! You can find them at dollar stores.
A Pencil Case or Tin
It would be ideal if every online music student had a pencil case or tin beside them during each lesson. What to have inside: coloured pencils or erasable pens, regular pencils, erasers, a metronome, cigarette paper (strictly for removing moisture from sticky flute keys) and all of the stocking stuffer ideas mentioned above! I love this one.
Wired Earbuds without a Mic
Earbuds are very useful for online lessons. They prevent the feedback and echo that sometimes happens over Zoom. When making recordings for virtual group pieces, they are indispensable. Bluetooth can sometimes interfere with wifi so wired earbuds are much better for lessons over Zoom. Usually the tiny microphone found in earbuds is inferior to that found on the device being used so it is preferable to have earbuds without a microphone. (Almost all of my students have earbuds with a mic and this is a problem...) These Sony MDREX15LP earbuds are inexpensive and fit the bill (be sure to choose the ones whose model number ends in LP without a mic as the ones ending in AP have a mic)! This headphone extension cord is also very useful if you are further away from your device during lessons.
The Seiko SQ50V is my favorite metronome. It has fallen off of my music stand at least 100
times and ticks on and on...Although metronome apps are great, it can be distracting for students to turn on a phone or tablet while practising so a stand alone metronome is ideal.
Gift Ideas for Flute Students
A Flute Stand
A flute stand is ideal during online lessons when students need to put the flute down to mark their music or adjust the camera angle of their device. The stand keeps the flute safe during practise breaks and helps moisture to drip down and out. I have had this portable flute stand for many years.
A stand alone USB microphone would be ideal for a student who loves to make recordings (i.e. virtual group recordings) and can also really improve how well the teacher can hear the student. These can be used with laptops and computers and some iPads and phones (you will need to investigate whether it works with yours and the recording app you plan on using and you will definitely need an adapter as the mic output is USB-A and phones and tablets usually have lightning or USB-C inputs. You may need a powered hub as well when using a mobile device). Good, inexpensive USB mic options would be the Samson Go ($60), the Samson Meteor ($100) or the Rode NT-USB (cream of the cream and $375).
My Favorite Celtic Flute Book
Almost all of my students love playing Celtic music and this one has a wide range of pieces for players of different levels. Jessica Walsh’s Celtic Music for Flute Vol. 1 can be found here (free delivery worldwide!). I strongly prefer volume 1 over volume 2.
The Flute Book: A Complete Guide for Students and Performers by Nancy Toff
This would be a good book for an adult student or a teenager interested in studying music at a higher level. It isn’t a book of pieces or exercises but rather a book covering absolutely everything you ever wanted to know about the flute in great detail, from the history of the instrument, to performers to repertoire.
And of course any flute player who is playing a school flute or a rental flute might enjoy the gift of their own instrument! One way to get a quality instrument for an affordable price is to buy a used instrument. Check Facebook marketplace and other online used marketplaces or call local instrument repair shops to see if they sell refurbished instruments.
Whether buying used or new, be sure to ask your teacher for the best brands and models to look for. I am happy to send my students detailed information about this. If it is a used flute, I will also look at the listing for you and even try the flute before you buy it if that is possible.
I recommend Yamaha flutes for my beginners. They are easy to repair and have good resale value. Avoid flutes sold in big box stores at all costs...
An intermediate student who owns their own beginner flute might enjoy an upgrade to a flute with a solid silver headjoint. Again be sure to ask your teacher for a recommendation.
Happy gift giving!