I have a friend who wants to return to playing woodwinds — a one-time clarinetist and pianist, she no longer has an instrument and has been away from it for 30 years.
She reads music, and has a good “ear.” She isn’t inclined to Classical music, and so probably would never invest in a “concert-grade” high-end instrument.
She just wants to make music, again.
My suggestion: Get a decent “quality” ALTO ABS Recorder, begin there and see where it takes you.
Other friends nudge her towards the Native American (-style) Flute, suggesting that “it is easier to learn, easier to improvise on right away, more “mellow” … and all of that. That instrument has its “following”, and there is a culture-based mystique that surrounds it. Once you strip away the visual trappings, though, it would seem that the instrument’s limited range and key-specific tunings might quickly become a frustration for a once-skilled musician. Granted: a decent wooden flute of this style can be purchased for maybe half the price of a first-decent-level-above-ABS Recorder.
From an aural standpoint, many advocates of the Native American Flute claim that its construction — two in-line air chambers, and (usually) non-conical bore — gives it a “better” tone … often cited is the “more rich/complex/mellow” contribution of the resonance of the “slow-air” (initial) chamber.
Alto, or Tenor Recorder: Is the sound of a comparable-grade Recorder as rich, complex — and yes, “mellow” — as the two-chambered Native American Flute?
For someone like my friend, who wants to begin to “just noodle around” and then see where it takes her — what would you suggest?