I once had a young student who came to her lesson saying that her flute wouldn’t play. I asked her to take it out and we could check to see what was going on with it.
She took it out of the case, put it together and proceeded to try to blow some notes for me. It was true, it didn’t work at all. It sounded like air only and not really any pitch was coming out. It also seemed kind of quiet.
I took it from her and started peering around for the most common problems. All of the screws were in and I could see no broken rods, bent keys, or popped springs.
So, my next reaction was to look inside the barrel of the flute. I placed it on my eye (like a pirate telescope), and noticed something strange.
I took the pieces apart and looked inside the headjoint and discovered about a dozen or so pieces of fluffy white popcorn had been shoved inside.
Keep your flute out of reach from friends and younger siblings.
I then asked her if she had a little brother or sister. She said she did.
I had to give them the lecture of keeping their flute inside its case and out of reach of small, grubby but interested fingers.
The point was taken well and I never saw the problem again.
I hope this little article helps some of you who may have friends or younger siblings who may not understand the importance of instrument care.
Do you have little siblings who always have sticky fingers? Tell me about it, leave a comment below.