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Slightly off topic as my wife is not a sax player:

She has expressed an interest in learning to play the piccolo. The only previous musical experience she has had is school recorder lessons, which I believe she didn't stick with.

What should I expect as far as her learning the piccolo. Is it a good first instrument? Should I try to talk her into playing flute first?

As she has bought me a soprano sax for Christmas I thought I might buy her a piccolo.

Any thoughts or advice would be very welcome.
 

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You can think of the Piccolo like the Sopranino or Soprillo even: most people learn a regular Saxophone (tenor alto or soprano) first. You need a tighter embouchure and from what I hear (I never tried a Piccolo before) you will do well to learn Flute first. A student level flute shouldn't be terribly expensive and that way you can save money for a good piccolo as that's the ultimate goal.

As always, I'm no expert, I just share observations. :]
 

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I'd suggest beginning on flute for at least six months. No matter what instrument she begins on, have a teacher lined up.
 

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It taks a lang spoon tae sup with a fifer.


No, really - these are truly great - and if she can get a tune out of one - progress to flute/pic/whatever should be straightforward - cheap as chips and no worries about complicated irrelevant mechanical crap.
 

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DougR,

Thank you for the link!
Great, interesting resource.

rabbit

P.S.: Vince, Sorry can't advise re: Piccolo.
I vaguely remember that when I was married it
never hurt to give the bride anything she wanted.
:)
 

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Piccolo is far fussier about embouchure, and needs the airstream faster, a lot smaller in cross section, and aimed far more accurately. I.e. it needs a fair degree of accomplishment and versatility. IMO the attempt at doing this, without the background on flute, has a high chance of really stuffing up the embouchure for flute (and piccolo!)

Some peole may happen to manage it, but starting on piccolo is really a bit like starting to learn any instrument in its third octave. Start on flute!
 

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Gordon (NZ) said:
Piccolo is far fussier about embouchure, and needs the airstream faster, a lot smaller in cross section, and aimed far more accurately. I.e. it needs a fair degree of accomplishment and versatility. IMO the attempt at doing this, without the background on flute, has a high chance of really stuffing up the embouchure for flute (and piccolo!) Some peole may happen to manage it, but starting on piccolo is really a bit like starting to learn any instrument in its third octave. Start of flute!
I agree with this 100%.
 
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Start on the flute, it's way cheaper to own and it won't be as hard on YOUR ears ! :yikes!:
 

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i agree - start with flute and your wife might never move to piccolo! better to get the technique and know-how before moving onto the Weopon of Mass Destruction. I'd recommend a Yamaha 211
 

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I agree with the suggestions regarding playing flute first but as an alternative, have you considered Irish Penny Whistle? There is a similarity in fingering and register with the piccolo and moving to it from recorder should be easy. It's inexpensive, has good music to play and if your wife isn't a good music reader she can develop this while not worrying about some of the flute/picc mechanics. It's not better than learning flute first, but it might be fun and it's inexpensive should she change her mind. And if she doesn't you won't have the double expense of a flute and piccolo.


(I never tried a Piccolo before)...As always, I'm no expert, I just share observations.
You know what? I don't want to be rude, but why would someone give advice if one isn't even familiar with the instrument? That's not really helpful. Stick to what you know. I'll just about bet there are things you know about that some of us don't and you'll have more credibility when you share that with us. ;)
 

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I'd agree on starting the flute before going to piccolo. That's what I did and I even had some trouble for awhile getting used to the piccolo at first (the embouchure and air), so it wouldn't hurt to start on flute. :]
 

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gary said:
You know what? I don't want to be rude, but why would someone give advice if one isn't even familiar with the instrument? That's not really helpful. Stick to what you know.
My mother plays the flute as a primary instrument, and has played the piccolo in the past, so I have second hand experience to pass along. From the looks of it I wasn't wrong in what I shared either....

Well shoot, I apologize. :(

I'll just about bet there are things you know about that some of us don't and you'll have more credibility when you share that with us. ;)
Hah, I doubt many people come here looking for a Software Engineer or Web Designer. >_<
 

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Ferret said:
Hah, I doubt many people come here looking for a Software Engineer or Web Designer.
Ohhh don't sell yourself short. Regularly someone will need help with something that has nothing to do with saxes, or even music, but you know what? They'll post it here instead on some other forum because this community has a lot of varied expertise and we are inclined to trust each other more that on some other forums. I've asked questions about digital cameras and other things electronic, for example, and gotten great responses. My son is a professional guitarist as well as a web designer. Don't underestimate what you might be able to contribute. :)
 

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<3
 

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i didnt start on flute first.
i did trumpet, then alto, piccolo, then flute.
now i play sax flute and piccolo and flute, no more trumpet.

anyways it is possible
 

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fluteypiccolosax said:
now i play sax flute and piccolo...
Your name betrays your skills! :D

Another vote for the flute before piccolo camp. Piccolo is best suited to players who already have a pretty well-developed flute embouchure and technique. I think that starting on the instrument may cause a tendency to force the sound out and strain facial muscles far more than is necessary.
 

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I've been playing the piccolo most of my life. It's not a lot of fun to play by yourself and lots of fun to play in a group. That's why i almost always play the flute at home and only pick up the picc. to practice a specific part for a gig. Another thing i recommend is keeping some foam earplugs in your piccolo case… especially for your right ear!

If she just wants something cute and small, why not try an Eb flute?
 

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Hmmm...I'm trying to find a way to say this nicely...but a piccolo makes a bad first & primary instrument.

When some people start on the flute, they complain of being light-headed. That is because at first, you don't have good control over your airstream. It comes pretty quickly on the flute....maybe within 3 months. But the piccolo has such a smaller, more precise embochure hole. When I worked in a music store, people with no flute experience would pick up a piccolo and barely get a sound out of it. I think it would extremely frustrating to force the flute embochure technique on a beginner using the piccolo.

Also in regards to fingering (which I'm surprised no one brought up), it is easier to learn the flute fingerings and get "muscle memory" on the flute which is more comfortable to hold. Sometimes the feeling of your fingers being so close together can be a mental block to what your fingertips should do. I remember that sometimes on a tricky passage, I would work it out on the flute first and then move to the piccolo (however, for speed...I could somehow play fastest on the piccolo). Again, it has to do with precision. If just one finger is "resting" to hard on a key, you have a whole new note on the piccolo where as the flute is more forgiving.

And finally...flutes are cheaper (both to buy and repair)! :D
 
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