PICCOLO FLUTE REVIEWS – PICCOLOS FOR STARTERS

So you have decided to give the little flute brother a go and even enhance your future flute career by knowing your way around the piccolo as well. This is awesome and in addition will help you also with your flute playing! But where to start? You need some Piccolo Flute Reviews and get to know about Piccolos For Starters.

 

Piccolos For Starters


If you are just starting out with playing the piccolo but know how to play the flute, you have come to the perfect place.

The Piccolo embouchure is smaller and reacts much faster to any change in air stream than the flute. You will learn about your air flow as you have instant feedback. If the air is not coming out at the right speed, pressure or angle, no sound will be created.

Every intention, dynamical or directional will have to be very conscious and well-accompanied. That is why studying the piccolo is an asset to your flutist’s skills as well.

It is also much easier to disturb ” the peace” of a musical performance with a piccolo than a flute.

So if you are not very sure about what you are doing, you will feel embarrassed. No easy way to say it.

But this difficulty actually hides high potential to making the step to a higher level in you musicianship.

Check out our piccolo practice specials and feel free to ask any question in the comment section below!

Learn how to play the little flute

Piccolo practice tips

Tuning a piccolo for orchestral practice

 

Piccolo Flute Reviews – 3 Piccolos for Beginners


But what you are really interested in is which piccolo flute to start with. Before we do that we need to clarify some of the terms that describe the properties of a piccolo.

A traditional headjoint requires a very flexible embouchure. But there are ways to assist you. Especially the new reform headjoint with the wave cut. It helps center the tone, because it makes it very hard to blow your airstream anywhere else. I love the freedom of a traditional headjoint though.

Most piccolos are of conical shape and made from Grenadilla wood. Do not purchase the metal ones, not even metal head joints, unless you will play outside in marching bands.

This glossary is very helpful in understanding the specifics of most flutes and piccolos.

————> Glossary

So here are my reviews of the most advisable Piccolos For Starters, but on the professional side.

We advvise strongly to go with the first option!

By clicking on the image you will be linked to the best selling option.

 

1) Yamaha YPC-62 Professional Piccolo with Standard Headjoint

 

 

  • best intonation
  • rich tone and harmonics
  • easy to center airstream even on non wave headjoints
  • conical shape
  • grenadille wood
  • silverplated keys
  • Split E Mechanism

 

2) Pearl PFP-165E Series Piccolo with Grenadilla Headjoint

 

  • reliable sound production
  • Synthetic Pads
  • Grenadilla High Wave Head joint, and Grenaditte Body
  • Pointed cup arms
  • Split E Mechanism
  • Includes Case and padded case cover

 

3) Gemeinhardt 4P Composite Piccolo

Gemeinhardt Model 4W Piccolo Regular 190839020611

  • Silver-plated keys 
  • Grenadilla wood head and body
  • Beryllium copper springs

Of the above options only the second one is not completely made of Grenadille Wood. In fact, it is a composite of Grenadille head joint and Grenaditte body.

Those are the piccolos we advice to buy on the way to professionalism. Especially Yamaha. Further steps would be Burkhart, Keefe etc, but those are only of value when you go very serious on the little flute!

You can win any competition with Yamaha or Pearl.

The best piccolo practice book on your way to professionalism is by Trevor Wye and deals with orchestral excerpts right away.

 

Practice Book for the Piccolo

 

But you cannot start or become anyone on the piccolo without the following method!

This method by my teacher, the solo piccoloist of the Maggio Fiorentino in Florence, includes every possible hack to master all the tecnical challenges a piccolo flute could possible make you address.

 

 

 

By Nicola Mazzanti – The Mazzanti Method, Daily Exercises for Piccolo

How to choose a Piccolo?


If you have never played the flute you should choose a wave head joint and a Yamaha Piccolo as they are very stable in intonation.

But if you come from the flute and have a very flexible embouchure, great difference in dynamics and differentiation in phrasing you should go with the traditional embouchure. Your lips will be able to control a wider range of timbre possibilities.

You should opt for this solution:

Yamaha YPC-62 Professional Piccolo With Standard Headjoint

It is more difficult in the beginning but pays off in the end.

 

Is learning to play the Piccolo hard?


Learning to play the piccolo is not hard if you are willing to put in the work. It is very satisfying even as it gives an instant feedback on how your air stream and support are doing. You might want to have a look at professional ear plugs though if you are going to study consistently.

————————————————–> Professional ear plugs

I advise you strongly to equip yourself with!

You might also want to invest into a tuner and a metronome that work best with piccolos and flutes in general:

—————————————————-> flute tuner

 

—————————————————-> metronomes

 

Playing the piccolo is a lot of fun.

Especially with the right guidance.

If my three articles

Learn how to play the little flute

Piccolo practice tips

Tuning a piccolo for orchestral practice

do not suffice there is this wonderful practice book Trevor Wye has published.

Practice Book for the Piccolo

He is a well-known flutist and flute teacher and has published nearly every practice book used today in the flute world. This practice book is for flutists wishing to extend their expertise to piccolo playing.

It teaches you with orchestral excerpts, so very close to the actual world where you would need to use this instrument and also very interesting and practical.

Check it out, it is not the first time I have been asked to prepare an excerpt for an audition based on this textbook (last time for principal piccolo in Gran Canaria).

Use it to have a more fun practice in between concerts and auditions as well!

 

 

Piccolo Flutes are very affordable


It goes without saying that a piccolo flute of a professional level is much more affordable than a professional flute. My flute for playing in a symphony orchestra is a 10 K Powell, which I love for its harmonics that mix well with Italian/French Clarinets and the Oboe. Also, because the 1st flute plays a 24 K Brennan.

When I perform as a soloist with the orchestra I use the all silver Powell flute I inherited from my mother. It has a Brennan head joint and thinner b foot. No one in my family remembers why. It has a brilliant sound but needs a lot of intonation adjustment.

In chamber music I usually use the Gold Powell flute, it is less dominant and linking much better to other timbres.

With the piccolo it is a little different.

The flute I inherited from my mother is an old Philipp Hammig, from Eastern Germany, when the wall was still up. It has a beautiful sound and is very difficult to tune in itself but once you understand it, it is the perfect chamber music sound. And also if you are a soloist for a few seconds in a symphony orchestra and every one else is quiet.

But if you need to be heard over the full rage of all orchestral registers you need a different kind of piccolo.

In the orchestra I have always used my Hammig, even though conductors have often asked me to play louder (like Beethoven 5th in the last movement or in the Verdi Requiem), but in Tchaikovsky or Shostakovich the volume and sound projection was perfect.

As well in “Elisir d’Amore” by Donizetti or “Traviata” by Verdi. It mixed well with the first flute using a Brennan Piccolo. The audience’s comment was “you played like one” after the famous “balletto”.

They told us, that we sounded like one!!

Which is a compliment for two piccolos at unisono …..

Le Zingarelle

Posted by Orchestra Sinfonica Città di Grosseto on Monday, July 29, 2019

This is a live from a performance in Summer 2019 with the Orchestra Città di Grosseto, Tuscany in Grosseto.

For more present and brilliant piccolo sound I was advised to book a Braun piccolo.

But they only come made for you and you cannot try them out first. I haven’t done that yet, but I would love to. I am also looking into Burkhart piccolos.

 

Piccolo Flutes add value to you being a flutist


When I studied the piccolo, I was told by many of my so called friends and colleagues “you are doing well, because you will never be a 1st flute, so it is much better you prepare for 2nd and piccolo”.

I was mad at them. But they might have had a point. I got my job because I also did a one-year Master of II Level Degree of Piccolo Playing at the Conservatory of Milan. This prepared me for playing the piccolo in a symphony orchestra.

Much of the advice I give here and that I have given in former articles actually comes from this very intensive year I spent in Milan, studying with one of Italy’s most famous piccoloist, solo piccolo from the Maggio Fiorentino, Orchestra of Florence. We also had a stage there, which was awesome. I was able to play “Tosca” by Puccini and learn so much.

Such a wonderful teacher and valuable method!

Click on the image for more information.

 

By Nicola Mazzanti – The Mazzanti Method, Daily Exercises for Piccolo (2014-06-30)

 

I will never forget those years. Especially as I heard my professor play the flute in a chamber music concert in Tuscany.

It instantly became clear to me, how all his teachings made him the wonderful and superior flutist he is.

But now I need a coffee, folks. Want to join me?

If you are interested in drinking the right coffee the Italian way, go Illy and create little Italy at home!

Also, please let me know in the comment section below. I will be more than happy to help you out further and in much more detail,

Janie

Topflute

Orchestral Excerpts For Piccolo

Orchestral Excerpts For Piccolo

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6 thoughts on “PICCOLO FLUTE REVIEWS – PICCOLOS FOR STARTERS”

  1. Janie I have to say that I don’t know the first thing about music (accept that I love it) and I couldn’t tell you the difference between a flute and a piccolo, until now. I do, however, adore Italian music! I would come back to your site just for the musical videos that you add in. I listened to every one! I really got a kick out of the Illy commercial. My husband and son drink Illy by the case load. Left over from our time in Sicily.
    Thank you for the stroll down memory lane and the beautiful music!
    – Dolly –

    Reply
    • Thank you so much Dolly, for your lovely comment! Sicily is a great place to drink good coffee and listen to great music as well!! So happy to have been able to tell the difference between a flute and a piccolo and even more so that you enjoyed our music. You are always welcome and if you have special wishes left unattended on memory lane, just ask!
      Italy awaits you with open arms,
      So do we,
      Topflute

      Reply
  2. Hi Janie, I just came across this article about piccolo’s and had a read through it. It is very impressive to read through this informative post and doing so, I was able to improve my knowledge significantly. It sounds like you have gained a lot of experience throughout your life in Flutes and Piccolo’s and your passion for music is shining through. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and passion, I definitely appreciate it a lot! Unfortunately, I never really a mastered playing an instrument other than a little bit of piano when I was young. My mother played the piano and still does.
    I would like to introduce an instrument to my daughter when she is a bit older. I am not sure how to pick an instrument what will suit her and she will enjoy. From what age did you start playing the flute? What is a good age to expose a child to an instrument, you reckon, and to learn playing it? Thanks again for sharing this information and I am looking forward hearing from you. Cheers Jude

    Reply
    • Thank you, Jude! Yes, we are very passionate about flute and piccolo playing and happy it shines through!!
      I started playing the flute when I was 11. That was very late, as I wanted to play when I was 6. But unfortunately I wasn’t tall enough to reach the flute effortlessly. We started singing in kindergarden and with body percussion. This is fun, you do it together and do not need to study alone. Clapping hands and knees, singing and dancing, this is the best early on approach to any kind of music. They can experience themselves in a group, making sounds and having fun. An easy instrument for starters is also the piano. As you just press and the sound comes out. So for very little children this is an easy and interesting education. I started with piano and recorder, waiting to grow and be tall enough for the flute. Nowadays I could use the curved head solution and wouldnt have to wait so long any more Curved heads – learn how to play the flute – maintenance of the flute.
      If your child starts with the piano, that both your mom and you play, you can also begin to understand what is more interesting to her. Chords or melodies, higher or lower sounds, quick or slow? Does she enjoy the percussion part of it or the sound quality? Picking an instrument is not easy and should also depend on your surroundings and environment. If you live in a small flat with working neighbours, maybe the trumpet and percussion is not a good choice. If you have a band in town, where children can learn and play together, maybe a wind instrument is a good choice. Do you have a symphony orchestra and good strings to listen to around you, maybe your daughter is fascinated with the cello? It also depends very much on your daughter’s inclination. A flutist is a person that loves to produce their own sound, without obstacles (like reeds), very close to the human voice. Playing the flute makes you automatically head of woodwinds and the highest sounding instrument in a symphony orchestra. A lot of responsability, but also fun. Winds have their own voice in an orchestra (just marching bands double the clarinets and others), while a string instrument is always playing the same part as many others.
      Working with your breath and air is very personal and rewarding.
      Well, my advice would be to take her to see and listen to concerts and see what impresses her. Hope I could help you and didn’t confuse you more.
      Janie
      Topflute

      Reply
  3. Hi Janie

    I do not know anything about flute, but I enjoyed reading your article. I learned about the different Piccolos, and that it will be easier for an individuals to play them if they already know how to play the flute.

    The Piccolos for starters look the same to me, but there are still differences among them.

    It is nice to hear that you are using the flute that you inherited from your mother. Sounds like that flute has been around for a long time, but it can still do well when played by a soloist.

    I watched the videos, and it looks you guys are having a lot log of fun. Some of the music are very calming. Thank you for a very informative post. It will be very valuable to those who want to learn about flutes and so much more.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Jackie!
      We are happy you visited and liked the videos and articles. Yes, there is so much to consider when choosing an instrument. I sure hope that we helped those who needed information to find it and make a decision.
      We are also grateful that you not only watched our videos but shared your liking them with us and our readers.
      Stay happy and blessed,
      Topflute

      Reply

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