Piccolo Resources:

Piccolo Flag (1 piece swab)-invaluable!





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Piccolo is an instrument in its own right, everything from flute does not transfer. It needs to be treated as its own independent voice.

Learning one instrument is hard, taking on a 2nd is challenging, think about supporting and incentivizing your up and coming piccolo players:

  • Scholarship $ for extra lessons

  • Tuners,1 piece swabs, music, recordings, cigarette papers, Piccolo shelf

Remember, a piccolo player has the ability to make your ensemble sound brilliant or painful, we have all experienced this. This is a solo position in any ensemble and because of it’s power, should be given to trustworthy musicians who rise to the challenge. Build strength in the section by encouraging your stronger flute players to give it a go…any serious flute player should have piccolo skills.


A good instrument is worth its weight in gold! Have a flute professional help you purchase a good instrument for the department. All piccolos should have a high B, (make sure it does), be able to play loud and soft w/o huge fluctuations in pitch, articulate clearly high-low, be sure it has even octaves. Always have a tuner at the ready with instrument trials.

  • Resin- good beginner instrument, fine outdoors and isn’t affected by temperature.

  • Metal- cylindrical bore, fairly easy to play, high technical passages easier, less resistance

  • Wood- warmer sound, more delicate, can crack, should not go outside, be left in a car, or sunlight. The bore of a wooden instrument needs to be very lightly oiled 4x/year ( I use a turkey feather and sweet almond oil, be sure to use a tiny amount of oil and don’t let it get on the pads or mechanism.)

Things to think about when introducing Piccolo:


Balance, right arm counter weight

Oral Cavity (open molars )

Air Stream (faster air=100mph!)

Articulation (lighter on picc, be gentle)

  1. Where to begin? (NOT with Vivaldi!)

    1. Slow scales and arpeggios, get used to moving the direction of the air (up and down)

    2. Find your sound first, control comes later

    3. Mold sound more in the back of the mouth for control (like a singer on a high note)

    4. Don’t always use full airstream, it takes less air than flute

    5. Easy Flute method books and Baroque Sonatas

II. Control: Small but Mighty! On such a short tube, everything is exaggerated

Create your own resistance

Support-“H”, our secret weapon

Back of mouth, soft palette up (singing posture)

Vowel shapes

Small aperture (garden hose)

Air Stream

Air Direction

III. Repertoire: (see suggestions below)

 Don’t be shy, challenge them, that’s how they will learn and improve. Be on the look out for ways to feature them, we get better by doing. 

IV. Trouble Shooting:

  • If you have an instrument that has pitch problems, always start by checking the cork with the cleaning rod. Corks dry out and move around, they should be replaced approx. once every 2 years. 

  • Wooden instruments are very sensitive to temperature, and humidity…be careful to never blow warm air through a cold instrument, it will crack. 

  • Water- always have cigarette papers at the ready and swab constantly, the short tube is very prone to water bubbles.

Etude Books:  adapt as needed, most flute etude/method books will work well to get started.

  • W. Ferling- 48 Famous Studies for Oboe or Saxophone (or piccolo), a favorite of the legendary William Hebert.

  • Jean Louise Beaumandier- Excercices pour Flute Piccolo

  • Towarnicki- Studium Techniki, Pub. PWM, a favorite of the wonderful Jack Wellbaum ,"the Polish Piccolo book"

  • Clement Barone- Learning the Piccolo

  • Patricia Morris- The Piccolo Study Book

  • Patricia Morris/Trevor Wye- A Piccolo Practice Book (mostly excerpts and a few tone studies)

  • Hugues- 40 Nuovi Studi per flauto, a good introduction to piccolo etudes.

  • A Basic Guide to Fingerings for the Piccolo, Stephen Tanzer, great resource

Excerpts Books: Always try to practice from a real part.

Jack Wellbaum- Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo and Piano

Peters Edition- Orchestral Excerpts

Favorite Piccolo Pieces: for the aspiring octiva, adapt as needed, any Baroque Sonata is a good starting point, range fits well and notes aren’t too demanding. For a more thorough listing of concerti, see Piccolo Concerti page.

  • The Jewell Collection - virtuostic turn of the century character pieces for Picc/Piano ( bird music)

  • French Collections -Damare, Damase, virtuostic character pieces

  • Telemann Suite in a minor

  • Vinci- Sonata (pre-Vivaldi)

  • Benshoof-Spindrift (for the advanced player)

  • Blavet -Flute Concerto (pre-Vivaldi)

  • Telemann -Sonatas

  • CPE Bach- unaccompanied Sonata

  • Griebling-Haigh- Hebert Variations for Picc/Piano

  • Hovland, Egil Concerto for Piccolo and Strings

  • Karg Elert-Kolibri for Piccolo and Piano

  • Liebermann, Lowell-Concerto for Piccolo

  • Mc Kimm, Barry- Concerto for Piccolo

  • Musgrave, Thea- Piccolo Play for Picc/Piano (Conservatory level)

  • Vivaldi Concerti

  • Wilson, Dana-Whispers From Another Time

  • Persichetti- Parable (Solo Piccolo)

  • Schoenfield, Paul - Sonatina for Piccolo and Piano "Psychobird"

  • Simon, William- Pastel in 4 Parts (mvmts on Fl/Picc/Alto Flute)

Chamber Music with Piccolo: ( a few favorites :)

Benshoof- In Shadow, Light for Piccolo and String Trio (a beauty!)

Berio- Folk Songs (Soprano, Fl/Picc, Cl, Vla, Vcl, Hp, 2 Perc)

Cohen- I Remember for soprano, fl/picc/alto fl, cello, hp (based on the Diary of Anne Frank, terrific piece!)

Griebling-Haigh- La Bergere des Brises de Vallee for Fl/Picc, Ob/EH, Pn

Jacob- Trio for Flute/Picc, Oboe and Piano ( last mvmt. on Picc, very fun)

Jolivet-Petite Suite for Fl/Picc, Viola, Harp (last mvmt on Picc, delightful, early Jolivet)

Kodaly-Christmas Dance of the Shepherds for Soprano, Alto, Piccolo (beautifully written, terrific Christmas piece, not difficult)

Morgan, David- Pandiero for Picc/Gtr

Schulhoff- Concertino for Flute/Picc, Viola, Bass

Tomasi- Le Tombeaude Mireille for Picc and Tambourine