The flute is among the most delicate band instruments. It is usually made of nickel, silver, or brass and may be silver-plated. More expensive pipes are made using solid silver, gold or platinum.  The modern transverse flute includes three joints; the head joint, the body joint, and the foot joint.

The head joint is the part that touches the mouth and will have no keys. It is made up of the lip plate, where the musician rests his or her lower lip, and the blow hole also called the mouth hole. It is either an oval or rounded rectangle. If you favor low notes a larger mouth hole will help, whereas a smaller mouth hole will produce higher notes.

The body joint is the biggest part of the flute. The body joint carries the tuning slide and tenons, which are used to tune the instrument, and the keys.  The keys are one of the most delicate pieces of the device. They are constructed using soft metal, which means that they can be bent easily. If it is slightly bent, it will not be able to seal the hole properly which will lead to leakage of air. As a result, the flute will not produce the right sound; this is only one reason why it is important to be knowledgeable about the proper techniques to care for a flute. 

The final part of the instrument is the foot joint. It is the smallest part and contains a rod that aligns with the center keys and a few keys, as well.

Assembling and Disassembling

Poor decisions can break the pipe if assembled or disassembled improperly. Do not apply undue pressure to any part of the device. It is easy to bend and break. 

•    Proper way of connecting the head joint and the body 

Hold the instrument at the barrel. Hold the head joint at the tubing under the lip plate. Insert the open end of the head joint into the barrel with caution. Keep the body and the head joint in a straight line to prevent the joint from getting damaged. 

•    Proper way of connecting the foot joint and the body 

Hold the flute at the barrel. With your thumb over the C# / C keys, place the foot joint on the palm of your other hand. Don’t put pressure on the C#, C, or D keys since they don’t have support and may bend. Adjust the parts into the playing position with care while holding the pieces aligned with each other. 

•    Proper way of disassembling

Removing the parts of the flute is done using the same procedure in reverse order. Don’t forget that you must hold your pipe using your left hand, over the writing on its side. Your left hand should never move from this location while you are disassembling.

Cleaning your flute

The pipe collects condensation or moisture inside every time it is used.  Moisture which remains may lead to two problems: 

•    The flute pads can absorb the moisture that forms inside the flute and swells. The pads will not be able to form a good seal over the tone holes when they become swollen. This swelling will lead to poor articulation, intonation, and sound quality. 

•    Condensation can result in tarnished or rusted steel parts. 

To clean your flute, always take note of the proper techniques: 

•    Get a cotton cloth that is free of lint or any other absorbent fabric. Silk cloths are not recommended because they don't absorb well. You should also have a cleaning rod. Wooden shafts are preferable since they are less likely to put scratches on the flute. Insert a corner of the cotton cloth into a slit using the cleaning rod. Wrap the fabric onto the tip and the cleaning rod. Carefully push the cleaning rod into the flute while rotating it to absorb all the moisture. 

•    Prevent applying too much pressure or stress during cleaning. 

•    Remove the damp cloth from the instrument after cleaning it. 

•    Clean the outside of your flute carefully. Perspiration, breath, and dust can cause damage to your pipes. The dust may cause clogging in the movable parts. Sweat and the moisture from your breath both contain acids that can induce damage to the metal. 

•    Remove fingerprints and oil on the surface of the flute. Clothes which contain a silver cleaning chemical are not advisable; the chemical can seep their way into the body or pad surfaces of the device. It can also be abrasive just like sandpaper. Instead of making it look clean, it may damage the silver plating of your flute or worse; it can affect the flute’s keys. The chemicals used should be of the right type and used with the right amount and in the right places. Seek the help of a qualified flute repair technician if you want to use special cleaning solutions for your flute. 

Proper care for your flute’s head joint and tenon

The head joint should be fitted properly with the help of an expert repair technician. Substances like lip balm, petroleum jelly, or cork grease should not be used to lubricate this part since it may cause build up. The only substance that is advisable to use for loosening the tenon is a paraffin wax. 

Get insurance for your flute

You should make sure that the instruments you own all have insurance. You can use a regular household policy available from most professional music stores. However, you should check if the policy is also applicable when the damage occurred when your flute is in school or the car. 

Ensure that your flute gets regular servicing.

You don’t have to have too many regular check-ups. An unscrupulous repair technician might take advantage of owners by making you come back for another visit. It's recommended to have flute checked for at most once a year to prevent the minor problems from turning into an expensive issue. It will also ensure that it always produces the right sound. Seeking the opinion of more than one repair technician is ok. Different people may have different ideas or resources.

Always secure your flute

Given that the parts of the transverse flute are delicate, it is best to keep it in its case when it is unused. Do not leave it lying around. 

Taking care of your flute shouldn’t be too complicated. If you follow the tips we've suggested and use non-abrasive cloth, you will be able to save money from unnecessary repairs. Your flute will look good and sound new for a long time. Most of all, you will be able to sharpen your playing skills faster and get more fulfillment while playing your flute.