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A Flute Bookshelf
Good Books for Getting Into Flute Playing and Making

By Mark Shepard

For more resources, visit Mark Shepard’s Flute Page at

Copyright © 1998–2002, 2014 Mark Shepard. May be freely copied and shared for any noncommercial purpose as long as no text is altered or omitted.

Here are just a few of my favorite books that help you learn how to play the flute or make a flute. Most links are for more info at, an affiliate.

How to Love Your Flute: A Guide to Flutes and Flute Playing, or How to Play the Flute, Choose One, and Care for It, Plus Flute History, Flute Science, Folk Flutes, and More, by Mark Shepard, Shepard Publications, 1999 (reprint of the original 1980 edition). My own book. A complete guide for self-teaching or as a supplement to lessons.

The Flute: A Study of Its History, Development, and Construction, by Philip Bate, Norton, 1979. Possibly my favorite book on the flute. Details the development of the flute in Western culture, with an eye to the amazing diversity and inventiveness of flute design over the ages. Shows how the flute has changed in response to fashions in flute tone. Also deals well with acoustics. Essential reading for flutemakers.

The Flute and Flute-Playing, by Theobald Boehm, Dover, 1964. By the inventor of the modern flute, telling why and how he did it. An inspiration for flutemakers.

Simple Flutes: A Guide to Flute Making and Playing, or How to Make and Play Great Homemade Musical Instruments for Children and All Ages from Bamboo, Wood, Clay, Metal, PVC Plastic, or Anything Else, by Mark Shepard, Shepard Publications, 2001. My latest and last word on the playing and making of simple flutes from a variety of materials.
Flutecraft: An Artisan’s Guide to Bamboo Flute Making, by Mark Shepard, Tai Hei Shakuhachi, 1994. A much earlier treatment of mine than Simple Flutes but still popular. Reprinted here with new illustrations.

The Amateur Wind Instrument Maker, by Trevor Robinson, University of Massachusetts, 1981. Tells how to make wood-turned replicas of Baroque instruments, including a flute. I’ve heard mixed comments about the reliability of this book’s information, but it’s still the only one on wood-turned flutes!

Air Columns and Toneholes: Principles for Wind Instrument Design, by Bart Hopkin, Tai Hei Shakuhachi, 1999 (revised edition). A highly technical discussion of acoustics for instrument makers. Bart is the editor of the respected quarterly Experimental Musical Instruments. Best ordering may be from the publisher, at, or the author, at

The Complete Guide to the Flute and Piccolo, Second Edition, by J. James Phelan with contributions by Lillian Burkart, Burkart-Phelan, 2000. A fully-illustrated guide for players wishing to maintain their own instruments as well as for flute repair professionals. The best and only book on flute repair! The publisher also offers a flute repair video, Flute Fitness, by J. James Phelan. Best ordering may be from the author, at