Native American Flute, like any instrument, requires to be properly taken care of.
A lot depends on the type of wood the flute was made of:
- Hard wood , high density ( oak, mahogany ) is more resistant to damage and temperature changes, has a clearer and sharper sound.
- Soft wood and lower density ( red Canadian cedar, bamboo ) have a warm sound, but require more care, are light and more sensitive.
Below are some things to keep in mind when own a Native American Flute:
- It is worth to periodically lubricate the flute with colorless oil inside and out. Suggested oils are grape seed oil or coconut oil. Soak a cloth or handkerchief with a few drops of oil and wipe the outside of the flute.
We also let oil inside, either by pouring a few drops inside the flute or onto the rod, and then wipe well to make the oil layer as thin as possible.
Remember to lubricate both the sound chamber (the one with the holes covered by fingers) and the air chamber (Slow Air Chamber).
In this way we fill micro-dents and protect flute.
Depending on the how often we play, we may do it once every 3-6 months to ensure that the flute is in good condition.
- As one flute maker says: “Flute on the floor is flute no more” Make sure that the flute does not fall, do not throw it, do not knock it, and it is best to store and transport it in a soft material cover.
- Avoid extreme temperatures. Do not leave the flute on the sun or close to radiators, in a warm car, etc. Also, make sure that the instrument does not freeze and stay outside during the winter. Soft wood flutes are more sensitive to atmospheric conditions, but all flutes should be looked after just like a human body. In other words, if we need a sweater, then the flute probably also needs to be in the cover at this time.
Before playing, check that the surface of the flute is at room temperature. If its surface is frozen, we first warm up the flute by rubbing it with a piece of material (e.g. with a soft cover). When we heat it up, the flute is suitable for playing. Avoid playing the cold flute, as the introduction of warm air inside when the surface is cold can lead to an increase in pressure and ultimately damage the wood.
- You should avoid playing the flute right after eating . If we have just eaten, let’s brush our teeth or wait some time before playing the flute. If we play after eating, there may still be food particles in our blown air, which together with the moisture generated by saliva may cause the formation of fungi, mold and other unpleasant phenomena in the air chamber of the flute. It is a dark and humid place, so it requires cleaning.
In addition to the above technical guidelines, it is also worth adding that the flute from the perspective of the tribal traditions as an instrument and tool in the hands of the player can be seen as a living being , which inspired by our breath has “its own life”. Therefore, remember to take care for him and give him attention, playing it even for a few minutes a day.
We invite you to check out our Native American Style Flutes – NASF
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