The recorder is a woodwind musical instrument, which became popular in the 14th century. Produces a smooth sound, similar to the sound of a flute. Compared to other instruments, the recorder is relatively easier to play, making it an excellent first instrument for children and beginning musicians. These come in a variety of colors and sizes to match your tastes. Recorders are a good start for more difficult wind instruments that are held vertically, such as the oboe or clarinet.
Part 1 of 4: Get Started
Step 1. Buy a recorder
If you are a beginner, you can start by buying a cheap plastic recorder. Plastic recorders are used for teaching school children as they require little effort to maintain.
- Once you've mastered the basics and are still interested in playing the recorder, you may consider upgrading to a slightly more expensive wooden version. Wooden recorders tend to have a more pleasant tone than their plastic counterparts, but they are more difficult to care for.
- Both wooden and plastic recorders can be found in good musical instrument stores or online.
Step 2. Assemble the recorder
Recorders generally have three parts: the top that has a mouthpiece, the middle with finger holes, and the bottom that has a bell shape. Gently twist the pieces together.
- The bottom piece should be turned over so that the hole is slightly to the right when you see it when you touch it.
- Some recorders, usually the ones used in schools, are in one piece.
Step 3. Learn to hold the recorder
Take the recorder and place the mouthpiece on your lips. Gently hold it between your lips and balance with your fingers. Remember to put your left hand on top.
- The back side that has a hole should be closer to you. The front side should be further away from you.
- Don't chew on the mouthpiece or allow it to touch your teeth.
Part 2 of 4: Mastering the Basics
Step 1. Practice blowing into the recorder
Blow into the recorder to get an idea of what it will sound like. You will have to blow gently. As you do so, think as if you are blowing bubbles. Blowing gently with a steady flow of air is one of the most difficult and most important techniques when you first start playing the recorder.
- If you blow too hard, you will produce a sharp, unpleasant sound. Blows softer to produce a musical sound.
- Breathe from your diaphragm and make sure to blow evenly. It will help you keep the sound consistent.
Step 2. Learn the correct technique for the tongue
When you play a note on the recorder, you must start and stop the sound with your tongue. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth, behind your teeth. The sound should start and stop there.
- Also remember that when playing low notes, you will need to blow more carefully.
- To do this, try saying the word "you" while playing the note. This technique is called "tonguing" or articulation of the tongue and produces a clear beginning and end for the note.
- Be careful not to vocalize the "you" sound when you play. These words should only be used to help you master correct tongue articulation technique.
Step 3. Play the first note
The first note that people learn is Yes. This requires you to cover the hole in the back with your left thumb. Now take your right index finger and cover the first hole on the top side, below the mouthpiece. Use your right thumb to balance the recorder. Now gently blow into the mouthpiece, remembering to say "you." Well done! The sound you made is a B note.
- If the note doesn't come out right or makes a squeak, make sure you cover the holes completely and that your fingers hold steady.
- Another reason it may squeal is because you are blowing too hard.
- Keep practicing Yes until you feel comfortable with it.
Step 4. Understand the fingering chart
A simple fingering chart is used to represent the notes on a recorder. The fingering table consists of numbers from 0 to 7, with 0 representing the left thumb, 1 representing the left index finger, 2 representing the second left finger, and so on.
- For example, the note Si that you just played should be represented like this in the fingering chart:
0 1 - - - - - -
- The numbers represent the holes to be covered, while the dashes represent the holes to be uncovered. In this instance, the 0 indicates that your thumb covers the back hole on the recorder, while the 1 shows that your left index finger covers the first hole.
Step 5. Learn the notes that are made with the left hand
The first notes that you will learn to play with your left hand are Si (the one you just played), A and Sol. The next two notes that you will play with your left hand are Do 'and Re'. The apostrophe indicates that they are high notes.
- To play La: Use the same position as for the Yes note, but in this one place your left middle finger on the second hole from the top. The fingering table for a note A is: 0 12 - - - - -
- To touch Sol: Use the same position as for an A note, but in this one place your left ring finger on the third hole from the top. The fingering table for a G note is: 0 123 - - - -
- To play Do ': Cover the back hole with your left thumb, then place your left middle finger over the second hole from the top. The fingering table for a C 'is: 0 - 2 - - - - -
- To touch Re ': Leave the back hole uncovered and place your left middle finger over the second hole from the top. The fingering table for a Re 'is: - - 2 - - - - -
Step 6. Learn the notes that are made with the right hand
The first notes you will learn to play using your right hand are Mi, Re, and F #. The next two notes that you will learn to play with your right hand are Fa and Do. These two notes can be a bit trickier for novice musicians, as many holes need to be covered at the same time to play them.
- To touch Mi: Cover the back hole with your left thumb, cover the top three holes with your left index, middle and ring fingers, then place your right index finger in the fourth hole from the top and your right middle finger in the fifth hole at the top. The fingering table for an E note is: 0 123 45 - -
- To play D: Use the same position as for an E note, but in this one place your right ring finger in the sixth hole from the top. The fingering table for a Re note is: 0 123 456 -
- To play F #: Use the same position as for a D note, but in this one, take your right index finger out of the fourth hole from the top, leaving all the other fingers in place. The fingering table for an F # is: 0 123 - 56 -
- To play Fa: Place your left thumb in the back hole, the index, middle and ring fingers of your left hand in the first three holes above, the index finger of your right hand in the fourth hole, the ring finger of your right hand in the sixth hole and the little finger of your right hand in the seventh hole. The fingering chart for an F is: 0 123 4 - 67
To play C:
When you play a C, all seven holes must be covered. Your left thumb will cover the bottom hole, the index, middle, and ring fingers of your left hand will cover the first three holes on top, and the index, middle, ring, and little fingers of your right hand will cover the other four holes. The fingering chart for a C is: 0 123 4567
Step 7. Practice with simple songs
Once you have mastered all of these notes, you can put them together to play some simple sanctions:
- Mary had a little lamb:
- Yes La Sol La Yes Yes Yes
- La La La
- If Re 'Re'
- Yes La Sol La Yes Yes Yes
- La La Yes La Sol
- Tinkerbell of the place:
- Re Re La La Yes Yes La
- Sun Sun Fa # Fa # Mi Mi Re
- Auld Lang Syne:
Do Fa Fa Fa La Sol F Sol La Fa Fa La Do 'Re'
Part 3 of 4: Moving on with more advanced techniques
Step 1. Practice playing high notes
These can get tricky. To play notes above D ', a technique known as "pinching the thumb hole" must be used. Cover 2/3 or 3/4 of the thumb hole, using the tip of the thumb. Squeeze your lips a little and blow a little harder than usual.
Step 2. Learn the semitones
A semitone is a sound that is halfway between one note and the next, like the sound made by the black keys on a piano. You have already learned one of the most popular semitones, such as the F #. Two more semitones to learn are Bb and C # '.
- The fingering table for Bb is: 0 1 - 3 4 - - -
- The fingering chart for C # is: - 12 - - - - -
- You can practice these semitone notes by playing a ditty known as Bee, Bee, Black Sheep:
Re Re La La Si Do # 'Re' Si La, Sol Sol Fa # Fa # Mi Mi Re
Step 3. Work with the vibrato
Once you have mastered these notes, you can work on your vibrato technique. A vibrato allows long notes to resonate, creating a nice dynamic effect. There are several ways to do this:
- Use a diaphragmatic vibrato. Control the airflow inside the recorder by squeezing and contracting the diaphragm. Say "heh heh heh" but don't cut off the airflow completely.
- Use a tremolo with your tongue. Say "yer yer yer yer yer yer", using your tongue to control the flow of air.
- Use a vibrato with your finger. This method is commonly called "trill" and is not as practical for sustained vibrato. Do the note and the next highest note, alternately. Don't use your tongue with each note but quickly play a sequence like this: La Si La Si La Si La.
Step 4. Use glissandos
They are created to run the fingers of the recorder in rapid succession to create a sliding sound.
Part 4 of 4: Caring for Your Recorder
Step 1. Clean your recorder after each use
It is important to keep your instrument clean both for hygiene reasons and to keep the flute in good condition to be played.
- Plastic recorders can be washed in the dishwasher or in a sink with hot, soapy water. Separate the pieces before washing, and be sure to rinse off all of the soap.
- The mouthpiece can be cleaned with an old toothbrush or pipe cleaner.
- Let your recorder dry completely before playing it again.
- For wooden recorders, take the recorder apart and gently wipe the moisture inside with a soft cloth.
Step 2. Keep your recorder in its case
Leave the recorder in its case when not in use, to avoid chipping or damaging the hole at the top, as damage can make the recorder useless.
Step 3. Protect the recorder from extreme temperatures
Protect your instrument against sudden changes in temperature or direct sunlight, and never leave it in a hot car or near a heat source. This is particularly important with wooden recorders, but is good practice for any instrument.
Step 4. Learn to deal with obstructions
The condensation of moisture droplets in the middle of the recorder can cause clogs. You can minimize clogs in plastic and wooden recorders by warming the junction of the head to body temperature before use, whether in your hands, under your arm, or in your pocket.
- If water collects in the airway, completely cover the space at the top of the recorder with one hand and exhale forcefully into the airway. This should remove all excess moisture.
- If clogs persist, you can clean the air duct by mixing one tablespoon of unscented dish soap with three tablespoons of water. Pour this cleaner into the recorder, either through the window or through the bottom. Then let it sit inside the air duct for a moment before draining it. Let the recorder dry completely before playing it again.
- Try to remember the first three notes: Yes La Sol.
- If you can't get a good blowing sound, it's probably damp. Try to cover the larger hole and blow hard or use a small, helpful cloth and wipe it off.
- If it squeaks too much, make sure you are not blowing too hard and that the holes are completely covered with your fingers. If you keep squealing on the recorder, see if you can blow louder or adjust until the note comes out right.
- Press your lips together when you play the high notes and relax them when you play low notes.
- Keeping your back straight will improve the sound.
- Listen to old CDs, such as Renaissance music, to get a feel for the sounds. The music of that time often featured recorders.
- Never spend money on a music class if you are not really interested in playing the recorder.
- Playing the clarinet can help you with your recorder skills. And if you start with a recorder, a good choice for another instrument is the clarinet, as it is played, held, and manipulated with the fingers in a similar way.
- Clean your flute every day.
- Be exact when using the recorder.
- Don't bite the recorder. The flute won't last long if you do this, and this will damage the mouthpiece, which could affect the sound.
- Don't play the flute after eating, as you could get food into it. Also, don't spit on it.