Taking up the recorder as an adult
The Pictures Show a Treble Recorder but I Give the Fingering for the Descant.
The Recorder Is Very Suitable for an Adult to Take Up
The recorder has the advantage of needing little financial outlay. It is relatively easy to start playing but requires much practice to master. It can be enjoyed on its own or in an ensemble. the latter being most enjoyable and also providing social life. The stimulus of playing with others spurs one on to put more time to practice and so great progress is made.
Making a Start
Rosario Montenegro mentioned the recorder as a good instrument to take up as an adult and she is quite right. It is also an instrument where you can join in with a group of recorder players and have a really good time together. One big advantage is that the recorder is much cheaper to buy than other instruments unless you go in for a really plush one. The recorder has a thumbhole at the back which is covered by the left thumb, then on the front, there are three holes at the top to be covered by your first,second and third fingers of the left hand. Below that are three holes to be covered by your first, second and third fingers of your right hand. It is important to use the hands correctly as explained. Then there is a double hole at the bottom of the instrument to be covered by the right-hand little finger. You have to make sure that you are covering the holes properly. Having got this sorted you need to abandon the right hand for the time being and use the top three holes and thumb hole only to start with. This gives you the chance to get used to covering those holes properly.
Now you need to blow very gently into the mouthpiece producing a steady stream of air only slightly more than a gentle breathing. With thumbhole and three holes covered you should produce the note G. Above this is A (just two fingers down), above that B (one finger down, all with the thumbhole covered) so if you play BAGA BBB AAA BBB BAGA BBB GAABAG you should eventually recognize it as Mary had a little lamb. If you can do that you are on your way, so get a book and get cracking. If anybody can do it(and they can) then so can you. I wish you every success.
Fingering for a C on descant. Flatten your fingers so that the holes are completely closed by the pads of your fingers. Any escaping air will alter the tuning or make your recorder squeak. All the fingers are covering the holes for the note C and the thumb is covering the back hole too.
The Back Hole Covered by the Left Thumb
The Back Hole Uncovered
A Good Basic Start
The Note "G" on the Descant Recorder
When I Heard Piers Adams
I had quite forgotten till now that I had personally heard a very talented recorder player perform at my daughter's school about sixteen years ago. It was none other than Piers Adams. You can hear him in the Youtube video below and judge for yourself. He is at present working in America so if you get the chance to hear him, take it, it will be well worthwhile. He plays with his ensemble, Red Priest. I guess this name comes from Vivaldi who was known by this name because he was a priest and had red hair. This man's playing is a delight and very far removed from the awful wailings of a school child just making their first attempt at the instrument. Piers is often called a modern day Pied Piper and he could certainly charm the birds out of the trees. I remember the performance I heard was absolutely captivating. We were all spellbound. He also has a very charming stage presence and sent many of us home with weak knees that night. Take a look on his website to read more.
The Extraordinary Talent of Piers Adams and Friends
The Note "A" on Descant
Talent, Is It Necessary?
Don't worry about talent. The ability to stick with something, to keep going against the odds is far more important than talent. There are plenty of people out there with talent, but what have they done with it. Nothing. If you are prepared to work hard, and practise, practise, practise you will get huge enjoyment from your improvement. But increase the practise slowly or you will knot your fingers up. Start with ten minutes a day, or three sessions of ten minutes a day and gradually increase to half an hour a day. Remember there is no question of your getting to the Juilliard this is strictly for pleasure. No one may ever want to listen to you play except you but that is what it is all about, your own satisfaction in progress. Then if you have some talent too you will do even better.
All These Four Notes Have the Back Hole Closed
The thumb of the right hand sits at the back of the recorder at the level of the hole below G. It is there just to steady the instrument and be in readiness for when these holes are needed. Later you will find that the left-hand back hole is pinched by pressing halfway across with the nail. This is used to give higher notes. A good tutor book will help you with these things.
The Note "B" on the Descant
The Note "C" on Descant
© 2009 Liz Mackay