Rubank Elementary Method for Piccolo: Review

The Rubank Elementary Method for Flute is a popular book for students. But can you use the method for piccolo, and if you can, should you use it?

Rubank Elementary Method for Piccolo: Review | Piccolo Perfection

It can do a lot for flute and piccolo players, but it’s not perfect. Keep reading to learn if it’s the right method book to help you learn the fundamentals of the piccolo.

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What Is the Rubank Elementary Method for Piccolo?

The Rubank Elementary Method for Piccolo is the same as the method for flute. You’ll find the book works with both instruments, so if you used it to learn the flute, it’s perfect for your piccolo studies.

It’s a beginner book to help you learn the first few notes and rhythms. Now, most beginner piccolo players already play the flute, so the first few lessons can be a bit boring.

However, it’s a good option if you want to start from scratch like you’re a beginner. You can review the flute exercises but just do them on your piccolo this time.


Rubank books tend to follow a nice progressive structure with each lesson. You’ll start by learning the first few notes in the staff using whole notes.

Most lessons introduce something new, such as a new note value or a new fingering and note name. The lessons also have short exercises, and some have melodies from well-known songs.

By the time you finish the book, you’ll know a lot of different notes. You can also start to play somewhat longer melodies, though you might not want to jump right into learning a full concerto.

Unique Features

  • Comprehensive fingering chart
  • Easy lessons
  • Good explanations of terms
  • Follows a logical sequence


  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Probably already in your music library
  • Not too big of a book


  • Somewhat boring
  • More music theory focused than you might need

What the Rubank Elementary Method Covers

The Rubank Elementary Method for Piccolo covers a few standard elements of music. Of course, you may already know what’s in the book if you’ve used it to learn the flute.

However, here are the details if you learned the flute using other method books.

First Notes

As a beginner book, the method has to start by teaching you a few notes. When you play the flute and then the piccolo, you won’t have to worry as much about this.

You’ll already know most of the standard fingerings, so you can just speed through the first few lessons. But maybe you’re working with a teacher and want to learn the flute and piccolo at the same time.

It can help to reinforce the correct fingerings for basic notes. Since the Rubank book works for the flute and piccolo, it’s a nice resource to have and use.

Basic Music Theory

I wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s possible to learn the piccolo before the flute. If you want to do that, you might need to learn music theory if you’ve never played any other instrument.

The Rubank Elementary Method does a good job of teaching the basics. You’ll learn how to read music and how to read the different notes and symbols in the staff.

Of course, even if you know music theory, it’s good to have a review. You can brush up on your skills if it’s been some time since you really learned theory.

Shorter Melodies

If you want to skip some of the boring beginner lessons, you can play tons of short melodies. Those are nice to have to help you warmup on the piccolo and learn the fundamentals.

You won’t need to think about the fingerings or the music theory. But you also don’t have to find a massive work to use just to try and play melodies on the piccolo.

Some of the melodies are for popular songs, like Christmas tunes. Others aren’t as well-known, but they’re still pretty and can help you work on your tone and technique.

Why Use the Rubank Elementary Method for Piccolo

If you have the book already or want to get it, you might wonder why you should use it for your piccolo. Of course, the cover notes that it works for the small flute.

However, it helps to have a few reasons why you should use this book over others. Here’s what you might want to know.

It’s Affordable

Some flute and piccolo books are pretty expensive. If you just spent a lot on a piccolo or about to, you might not want to spend even more on a book to help learn the instrument.

Rubank books are some of the cheapest resources for music students. You can learn a lot from them, and you don’t need to spend more than the cost of a snack or a small meal out.

Of course, the price may go up in the future, so this might not always be the case. But if it’s cheap now, you should snatch a copy for use now and later.

Many Flute Players Already Have It

Assuming you already play the flute, you might have a copy of the Rubank Elementary Method. The flute and piccolo book are the exact same, so you can use your current copy for both instruments.

I got my copy when I was learning the flute, and I still had it when I started the piccolo. Using it was nice to get started, and I didn’t have to worry about rushing to find a piccolo method book.

If you want to just get started learning, use something you already have. Many flute materials work well for the piccolo, at least when you’re a beginner.

It’s Been Around

The Rubank books have been around for decades, and they’ve gained the trust and recommendation of many teachers. If you want to use a well-known resource, you can’t go wrong.

Of course, some newer materials are just as good. But it’s nice to know that the book has good exercises and information inside to help you learn the basics on your own or with a teacher.

It Progresses Quickly

One of the cons of this book for flute players is actually a pro when you start playing the piccolo. You can progress through the exercises much faster since you know the basics of flute playing and music theory.

All you have to focus on is applying the exercises to your piccolo. The lessons move quickly, so you don’t have to dwell on one basic topic for too long.

Why Not Use the Rubank Elementary Method for Piccolo

The Rubank Elementary Method may be great for some piccolo players. However, there are a few downsides you should know about before you rely on the book.

Then, you can make sure it’s the right method for you to follow. Here are a few drawbacks that come with using the book.

It’s for the Flute

The Rubank book may work for the piccolo, but it’s more so for the flute. That means the book is tailored for people who are first learning the concert flute family.

It also assumes you’re playing the flute, which can be easier to learn as a complete beginner. Without flute experience, the piccolo can be much harder.

The book could go a bit too fast for you if you’re learning just the piccolo. And you might notice the book goes a bit too high in the written range before you’re ready.

It’s a Bit Boring

Another con is that the Rubank books are somewhat boring. If you need more interesting exercises to want to practice, you should use other materials.

The Rubank book can definitely be a supplement to your practice. However, if you rely only on it, you might get bored quite easily, especially if you’re a bit younger or if you just don’t like the structure.

Now, some boring exercises are necessary, and you may have to play music you find boring. But when it comes to learning, you should make it fun with the right books for you.

It’s Not New

Having a long history and good reputation can be a good thing. However, the piccolo is one of those instruments that has developed and changed a lot in the past few decades.

Newer methods account for this more than the Rubank Elementary Method. That means the exercises might not fully apply to the piccolo you have today.

Other piccolo books are also written for flute players learning the piccolo. They aren’t for absolute beginners, so they might be more applicable to where you are in your musical journey.

Where Can You Buy the Rubank Elementary Method?

You can buy the Rubank Elementary Method for Piccolo at your local music store or a national chain. Another option is to shop online through a music store or a general retail store.

If you want a used copy, you can also look online or at a used book shop. I’ve taken some old music books for instruments I no longer play to my local used bookstore, so other people may do the same.

Can You Use All of the Rubank Flute Books for Piccolo?

You might be able to use some materials from all of the Rubank flute books. However, the advanced books definitely use a lot of low Cs in the scale and technical sections.

The cover of the Rubank Intermediate Method claims it works for the flute or piccolo. I think they may start to use low C in that book, so you’ll have to leave out that note or play it an octave higher.

Can You Teach Yourself the Piccolo With the Rubank Elementary Method?

You can teach yourself a bit of piccolo with the Rubank Elementary Method. However, I’d recommend taking a few private lessons or at least using other materials along with the book.

That way, you can get more tips specific to playing the piccolo rather than the flute. And you might get more instruction based on your needs as a player.

Will You Buy the Rubank Elementary Method for Piccolo?

The Rubank Elementary Method for Piccolo is an excellent book for flute and piccolo players. It can help you learn the basics of the piccolo pretty quickly.

If you want to do that, get yourself a copy or find yours in your library if you have it already. Then, head to the resources page to find even more useful materials.

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