The recorder is a popular instrument for children to learn because the instrument itself is inexpensive, very portable and children can learn to make music relatively quickly. The recorder is usually thought of as a child’s instrument because of its size and our memories of school assemblies and nativity plays – never without a group of small children trying their very best to produce a passable version of ‘ Twinkle Twinkle ‘or ‘ Away in a Manger’. While it is true that a beginner can quickly make music, to master the recorder takes regular practise.
If you are considering finding recorder lessons for your child what should you be thinking about?
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music – an internationally recognised education body based in London that provides examinations in music.
Trinity Guildhall -Trinity College London.
The National College of Music - specialises in external examinations in music and speech subjects in centres throughout the UK and in some countries overseas.
LCM Examinations – a department of the London College of Music within the University of West London.
There is no minimum qualification required to teach music at home. However, passing grade 8 practical and at least grade 5 theory will indicate an acceptable level of competence regarding playing ability and musical knowledge. A Music Degree would be advantageous.
While the recorder is often played solo there are also chances to play in small groups with others. Practising with other children is more fun and improves a child’s social skills and confidence. The recorder is often played during assemblies at school providing the player with a great opportunity to practice their performance skills in front of an audience. Gaining confidence in this area can transfer to other situations like presenting work or speaking in class.
MP, Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) famous for his diaries, loved the sound of the recorder at the theatre so decided to learn how to play himself. He played other instruments and enjoyed singing.
Handel (1685-1759) was one of the great composers. He wrote a collection of sonatas specifically for the recorder.
Astley's Hornpipe. Francesca, age 7 years old, plays ‘Astley's Hornpipe’ accompanied by little sister Cina dancing in the background!
Bad Romance. Rochelle Bernil playing Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.
Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’. This is a French guy playing Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’. Not particularly relevant but we liked his Christmas hat – and it’s always good to see what a few years of practice can do!
when you have motivating teachers you just develop that same passion they have for music and the instrument just becomes fascinating as you play more interesting stuff.
Learning recorder was one of those things that primary school teachers forced us to do without any reasoning. However, as I got older, I was able to appreciate that those Thursday afternoon sessions actually taught me a lot about music in general in terms of reading sheet music, keeping in time and playing by ear. These skills are all transferable across all musical instruments and have allowed me to be able to pick up other instruments far easier than I would have. The recorder was probably chosen as a straight forward and very cheap instrument to pick up and play as it didn’t require tuning or buying any extras like leads or mouth pieces.
I enjoyed recorder lessons at school. I played the treble recorder and found it easy to produce a passable tune relatively quickly. Playing the recorder had the added advantage of enabling me to join in during concerts and assemblies even though I couldn't sing! Although I did enjoy it I didn't play for longer than a year or two. I can't remember why I stopped - I expect it wasn't a very cool thing to do!
We had a really nice recorder teacher. When we first started she would play a note and we had to copy her. Then she played a few notes for us to copy. When we got better the teacher gave us music books so we could see the music and she played her recorder at the same time. She gradually played less and less as we got better. Playing the recorder is quite easy but it takes quite a lot of practise. I used to really hate making a mistake when I was playing in a group because sometimes the person next to you goes wrong too and then the teacher makes you keep playing the same piece of music over and over again!