Jim Lasota's Guide to a "Fiscally Fit" Flute...
(or, how I survive the orchestra pit without spending $2K a year on repairs)
It has been 5 years since I have had my gold Powell overhauled, and other than clean, oil, and adjust, It has had no other problems. I attribute that to some of the following reasons. As you will see, these reasons all contain an ALWAYS or a NEVER, and that's the key (no pun intended...well, ok, the pun is intended)...
- I NEVER leave my flute assembled and unattended at a gig or rehearsal. Yes, I completely put it away at intermission or break and put it back together when we're ready for Act II if I leave the pit. I nag others for leaving their instruments on their chair!
- I ALWAYS wipe my flute out and off when I put it away. My flute has NEVER gone in the case with condensation in it.
- When I hold my flute, I ALWAYS hold it at the barrel.
- When I assemble my flute, I ALWAYS hold the body at the barrel, and put the foot joint on holding it below the keys. When I see others holding all the keys, I just cringe. I think this one relates to the constant adjustments needed by some in the foot joint.
- When I am assembling my instruments during a show, (sometimes it will be 4 or 5 others since I do a lot of musical theatre requiring doubling) I ALWAYS put my flute together last.
- In an orchestra pit situation, I ALWAYS carefully consider where I set up my instrument stand(s). I consider who is next to me, and what they are playing, (if they're playing a $6,000 oboe and an $8,000 English horn I at least feel they are pretty careful too) and how far away I can get my flute out of their potential line of fire.
- Sometimes in a musical theatre situation instrument changes happen quickly. I NEVER risk my instrument to make a ridiculously fast change. I'll adjust something so I'm not whipping my flute on or off of the instrument stand.
- I NEVER switch between flute and piccolo by swapping instruments in my lap. I have seen flutes roll right off people's laps!
- Here's a little product plug. I ALWAYS use the sturdiest instrument stand possible. I love using the Herb Blayman stands. They weigh a ton, but are worth schlepping around. They have a very small footprint, and are rock solid. I have seen countless episodes where people using other types of stands with legs or what-have-you, get things caught on them or trip on them and boom!
- I NEVER let anyone play my flute that I don't know! I have had countless children ask (even their parents), ooh look at the gold flute! Can little Suzie try it?
..................... (he screamed politely!)
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