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 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 joint.
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 name you will be linked to the best selling option.
- best intonation
- rich tone and harmonics
- easy to center airstream even on non wave headjoints
- conical shape
- grenadille wood
- silverplated keys
- Split E Mechanism
- 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
- Silver-plated keys
- Conical bore
- Soldered tone holes
Only the first one is completely made of Grenadille Wood. The second one is mixed and the last one is only composite.
Those are the piccolos we advice to buy on the way to professionalism. Especially Yamaha. Second 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 o Pearl.
The best piccolo practice book on your way to professionalism is by Trevor Wye and deals with orchestral excerpts right away.
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.
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 old embouchure. Your lips will be able to control a wider range of timbre possibilities.
You should opt for this solution:
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.
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:
Playing the piccolo is a lot of fun. Especially with the right guidance. If my three articles
do not suffice there is this wonderful practice book Trevor Wye has published.
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). I 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 has 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 East 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 I do not yet have.
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 will with the first flute using a Brennan Piccolo. The audience’s comment was “you played like one” after the “balletto”.
They told us, that we sounded like one!!
Which is a compliment for two piccolos at unisono …..
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.
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 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.
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. Don’t forget the true Italian Coffee to really interpret an Italian piece of music!
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,