Frequently Asked Questions

 

This page tries to answer some common questions about any aspect of the recorder. If you can’t find what you are looking for here, and would like to ask a question, please contact faqatsrpdotorgdotuk and we will try to help.

Summary of Questions

  • I am really a piano teacher but have a 6 year old starting descant recorder.
    Do you know of any good theory teaching resources for recorder? As a piano teacher I am used to having a massive choice of books, such as theory specifically geared towards piano pupils (eg relating treble clef to the piano keys). Are there any equivalent theory books for assisting recorder tuition? I am using John Pitts Recorder from the beginning
    Answer

  • What is the best wooden recorder to purchase for a beginner? Also where is the best place to purchase one?
    Answer

  • I am teaching a group of predominantly left-handed children the recorder and their natural instinct is to have their right hand at the top of the recorder, I keep correcting them, but they soon change hands when they are not thinking about it. Should I keep plugging away at top hand, left, or doesn’t it really matter because their recorders are plastic with moveable bases?
    Answer

  • What are people who play the recorder called?
    Answer

  • What is the best and safest way to clean recorders in a school setting?
    Answer

Questions and Answers

I am really a piano teacher but have a 6 year old starting descant recorder.
Do you know of any good theory teaching resources for recorder? As a piano teacher I am used to having a massive choice of books, such as theory specifically geared towards piano pupils (eg relating treble clef to the piano keys). Are there any equivalent theory books for assisting recorder tuition? I am using John Pitts Recorder from the beginning

I am sorry to say that I am not aware of recorder specific theory resources. As far as recorder methods are concerned may I make the suggestion that you look at Progressive Method for Young Beginners by Scott and Turner (Music Sales) which I have used for many years. The rhythmic development in these books would be ideal for a young pupil whereas the Pitts is slightly muddled in this respect.

You might also like to look at the Musical Knowledge questions in the Trinity College syllabuses to give you an idea of the theoretical development deemed appropriate at each grade level and which you can teach through reference to the pieces being played. I expect though, as a piano teacher, that you know this already.

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What is the best wooden recorder to purchase for a beginner? Also where is the best place to purchase one?

The Society’s website has a page about recorder suppliers, which you may find useful. The Early Music Shop in particular has a very large selection and you may want to look at their website.

You don’t specify size or budget, or if it is for a child or adult. I will presume that you are looking for a treble, for an adult, as that’s the best size to start on, for most people.

There are a few known makes, mostly German and Swiss, namely Moeck, Mollenhauer and Küng. There are, of course, many more, and you can see a typical list of companies on this page from the Early Music Shop.

Depending on your budget, they start from around £160. For that you get a basic model, in a soft wood, which means it probably won’t last very many years. If you want durability, go for a harder wood, such as box or ebony. Really, the best thing to do is to ask your teacher, or other experienced player nearby, to try some out with you. They all sound and feel very different, and it’s a very personal thing. Groups I work with like the Küng Superio model, others like the Moeck Rottenburgh. Mollenhauer Denners are very good, too. In fact, these days, the quality is generally very good, which brings me back to saying that it is really personal taste. Find one that feels and sounds good to you! I believe that shops will send out instruments on approval, if you don’t live near one. 

A Yamaha 302B series plastic treble is always a safe bet, for starters, but maybe you already have one, if you are looking for a wooden recorder. 

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I am teaching a group of predominantly left-handed children the recorder and their natural instinct is to have their right hand at the top of the recorder, I keep correcting them, but they soon change hands when they are not thinking about it. Should I keep plugging away at top hand, left, or doesn’t it really matter because their recorders are plastic with moveable bases?

I appreciate that, while it is theoretically possible to play the recorder with either hand at the top, especially with an adjustable bottom joint, I would recommend you continue to encourage your pupils to have the left hand at the top for two reasons.  Firstly, the two holes on the bottom joint are slightly different sizes so using the bottom joint with the left hand instead of the right would affect the intonation of bottom C sharp.  In the longer term, if any of your pupils wish to take up another woodwind instrument they will have to have the left hand at the top as the keywork on flutes, clarinets etc. make it impossible to do otherwise.  

If they take exams or participate in music festivals, they will be expected to play with the left hand at the top.

All instruments are designed to be played one way only and it is, sadly, the right-handed way.

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What are people who play the recorder called?

Recorder players, although recorderist is gaining acceptance.

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What is the best and safest way to clean recorders in a school setting?

Plastic recorders can be soaked in a sink with washing-up liquid and a drop of disinfectant for an hour. Then you can push through one of those brushes you use on (e.g.) tea pot spouts, then rinse them thoroughly under a running tap and dry them with a non fluffy tea towel. Don’t use a lot of disinfectant or they will smell of it.

Wooden recorders can’t really be cleaned or disinfected.

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Last updated July 25, 2016