Imagine your child begging you to learn to play the piccolo, but they’re too young. Before you ignore their request, consider having them learn the Shining Piper fife.
The fife is a great alternative to absolute beginners, including young children. Consider whether it’s the right instrument for you or your child.
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What Is the Shining Piper Fife?
The Shining Piper fife is a mix of a fife and piccolo that’s kid-friendly. It uses plastic, and it features keys, like a piccolo, rather than just finger holes on a fife.
Like on traditional piccolos, the left-hand ring finger key is offset to make it easier to reach. I especially love that on an instrument targeted for younger, smaller players.
You can choose from multiple colors, including:
Compared to a regular piccolo, the Shining Piper fife is pretty affordable, so it’s great for kids or any beginner who isn’t sure if they’ll stick with the instrument.
Yes, there are piccolos that cost about the same, but those piccolos are usually of low quality. I’d recommend learning this fife first and saving up for a better piccolo.
Who the Shining Piper Fife Is For
The Shining Piper fife is one of the best options for kids who are interested in the flute. Younger children are a bit too small for the flute, and not all parents can afford special curved-headjoint models.
I’d also recommend this fife to adults who maybe can’t hold a flute due to arthritis or other health issues. The instrument is about the same size as a piccolo, but it can be easier for beginners to play.
So if you’re not a huge fan of the piccolo, it might be a good alternative. That way, you can still play music without having to sacrifice your physical health.
Who the Shining Piper Fife Isn’t For
Unfortunately, the Shining Piper fife isn’t for everyone. First, if you’re serious about the flute and piccolo (and are old enough to play them) you may find this fife limits you musically.
And even if the Shining Piper fife works for you for now, you may eventually outgrow it. As you advance, you’ll most likely need a Boehm system flute and/or piccolo since they’re more flexible than most simple system instruments.
Other Piccolos or Fifes for Kids
If you have a child who wants to learn the piccolo or flute, a Shining Piper is great. Luckily, it’s not the only option, so you may want to look at some other instruments out there.
The Yamaha YRF-21Y is an affordable plastic fife that shares its fingering system with the recorder. So its only difference is that you blow into it like you would a flute or piccolo.
Unlike other fifes and piccolos, this one can play down to a written middle C (it will sound an octave higher). I like how the embouchure hole is quite a bit larger than on a piccolo.
That can make it more forgiving to beginners who still need to refine their embouchure. And the plastic material and lack of keys mean it’s pretty durable.
Another option that’s very similar to the Yamaha is a fife from the brand myfife. I like how this one comes in different colors like the Shining Piper, so you can buy the color that you or your kid likes the best.
The piccolo is made of plastic, and it doesn’t have any keys. You don’t have to do a ton of maintenance or worry about a mechanism locking up on you.
It’s also a pretty affordable instrument, so you won’t waste a ton of money if your child ends up quiting.
The Nuvo Toot is yet another small flute that’s great for kids or even older beginners. It’s about the same size as a typical piccolo, but it features some keys, like the Shining Piper fife.
However, this instrument lets you play with the embouchure of a recorder. That can be particularly helpful since forming a good flute or piccolo embouchure isn’t easy.
You’ll be able to get a good sound right off the bat. And you can choose from different colors, like pink, blue, and green.
Where to Buy the Shining Piper Fife
You can buy the Shining Piper fife from a few of the major flute specialty shops. I’ve also seen it on other online stores, like eBay, so you have options.
New vs. Used Shining Piper Fife
Another thing to consider is whether you want a new or used fife. These instruments are already pretty cheap if you buy them new.
However, you may be able to save a bit of money if you get a used one. The only thing is you’ll have to search a bit more to find a used one for sale.
The Shining Piper fife is an amazing instrument for kids and even older beginners. It’s affordable, and it’s relatively affordable so good for anyone on a budget.
Not to mention it’s quite durable, so you don’t have to worry as much about breaking it. So if you’re looking to try the piccolo yourself or if your kid wants to learn, give this fife a try.
Next, learn how young a child can be to learn the piccolo.