I love gadgets, be they flute accessories or household tools. High tech or low, trendy or practical, simple or complex, they suck me in every time. My family’s most recent car purchase came with a GPS. What a wonderful invention that thing is! For the first few months I could not drive anywhere without logging in my destination. It guided me to the grocery store four blocks from our house and to my kid’s school a half mile down the road. Sometimes I would deviate just for the joy of watching it recalculate the route. Okay, I’m kind of a geek.
My kitchen is full of gadgets as well. I’m still mourning the demise of my apple corer. I’ve never seen one of my kids grab a whole apple from the fruit basket, but cut one up and leave it on the kitchen counter and it will disappear in minutes. Sure beats munching on chips. Sadly my corer burst its rivets a few weeks ago. I think I’ll upgrade. I wonder if they make corers with a julienne cut blade?
Naturally my penchant for gadgets extends to music, and I carry several of them around in my flute bag. Aside from my flute and piccolo (which I refuse to refer to as gadgets), there are two ever-present items. First, there’s my trusty metronome.
I still use a little Seiko quartz metronome that I bought in high school about thirty years ago. Its predecessor was a beautiful oak pendulum model, very elegant but not very portable. I hated to give up that lovely ticker, but when the tick became noticeably longer than the tock, it had to go. My little Seiko was a big step up technologically. Surprisingly, the functionality of a metronome has not changed much since electronic versions became the norm. Most current models have a digital readout, but some still have a dial like mine. My biggest complaint is with the printing on the dial. It seems to have shrunk over the years. When I was younger, I had no problem reading the numbers. Now I’m forced to put on my glasses.
The other item that travels in my flute bag is my Korg tuner. This is a relatively recent acquisition. It hasn’t logged nearly as many hours as my metronome and never will. Still, it comes in handy. I had the best of intentions when I bought it. I was going to map out the entire range of my instruments, especially my piccolo, to get a feel for their tuning idiosyncrasies. To date I’ve only used it for pre-concert, pre-rehearsal tuning. I promise you, my readers, that I will undertake that tedious task one day soon. Watch for the results in an article on intonation.
We flutists play our instruments for many different reasons. As an accomplished amateur, I play for the joy of getting together with other musicians and making music. I don’t need much in the way of flute accessories. In my opinion, the essentials are an instrument and a metronome. But many flute accessories are useful and enhance the musical experience. Some are just plain fun to have. To learn more about favorite flute accessories, check out some of the following articles.
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