Flute or fife?

If you’re not sure whether you’ll take to the flute or want to see whether you would be able to blow it, you could try playing a fife first – this is a small keyless instrument which looks a bit like a recorder blown sideways and can be bought for £20 or less. If you can blow that, you can blow a flute and also gives the player some experience in fingering / playing tunes. The Yamaha fife uses the same fingerings (combinations of fingers which close the holes, which make the different notes) in C major (the white notes on a piano) as the flute so someone who already plays the fife may find playing the flute easier.Players with shorter arms, especially young children, may well need a flute with a curved headjoint (the bit of the flute without keys where the player blows). A curved headjoint doubles back on itself so that the tube length is the same as a straight headjoint but the distance between mouth and left hand is several inches shorter. Some flutes come with both curved and straight headjoints so that the learner can switch to the straight one when s/he grows. Trying to play a straight-headed flute when a player’s arms cannot reach comfortably is not a good idea as it can lead to arms pulling one way, the head and neck pulling the other in an effort to play, which could cause aches / pains etc. Plastic flutes are also available (with both straight and curved headjoints) and are much lighter weight.
It is worth noting that Gloucestershire Music offers instrument hire even to hirers who live outside of Gloucestershire: https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/gloucestershire-music/instrument-hire/what-and-how-to-hire/