Whether you’re a soloist or second chair, choosing the flute or piccolo that’s right for you is key. The sound of a perfectly played flute is very distinct so whether you’re just learning or playing center stage, you’ll want an instrument that most clearly represents your skills. Piccolos and flutes have primarily the same construction with piccolos being the smaller option of the two. The more compact construction makes it so you can play in a much higher register. Flutes on the other hand, have a deeper tone and a wider range of notes. Most musicians who learn either the piccolo or the flute can easily pick up the other and give it a try. These woodwind instruments are categorized by skill level with options ranging from student to intermediate to professional. These categories are simply meant as a guide to help you figure out what might suit you best. However, if you are passionate about learning the flute, there is no reason not to jump right to an intermediate design. It also depends on your interest level. Student flutes and piccolos are certainly your best bet for beginners. The first two to three years of learning the instrument are challenging so an easy-to-use model like the Allora Student Series Piccolo or the Jupiter 511 Series flute are a good option. The affordable materials, simple tuning and easy press keys all help you learn the notes and proper breathing practice without breaking the bank. Once you’ve mastered the basics intermediate flutes like the Azumi AZ-2 flute or the Gemeinhardt Model 4SP Piccolo are great options when you want to level up. These styles feature open key holes for more precise playing and higher quality materials such as silver or silver plated nickel. These extra features allow you customize your performance further and the higher quality materials ensure your instrument stays in good condition. If you’re a seasoned professional you’re going to want the highest quality flute or piccolo possible. These models like the Woodwind Deluxe Custom Piccolo or the Avanti 2000 Professional Flute are either handcrafted or produced with great care. With professional models, the response is customized to be very precise, meaning the slightest touch of a key will produce a sound when playing. Specialized playing techniques are much easier to perform on professional grade flutes and piccolos. Flutes and piccolos are not just for orchestras and marching bands. The light and airy feel of these instruments can be heard throughout music history. Whatever genre you’re interested in, there is definitely room for some experimenting with these unique instruments.