You need to be able to play all (or most) of the two octaves possible on at least one member of the recorder family, and you’ll need to be able to read music. Most people will have learnt initially on descant or treble.
If you learnt on descant, it might be worth investing in a tenor recorder (wood and ABS resin are both acceptable materials!). The fingerings are exactly the same, but being an octave lower, the sound is more mellow – so you sound less conspicuous. In many arrangements, the tenor parts can be a little more straightforward than the descant line.
However, the tenor is larger and heavier – so ideally you need to try out several instruments to ensure that a particular model suits your stretch and that you are comfortable holding it. If you should fancy an expedition to Saltaire, near Bradford, the Early Music Shop has a vast range in stock.
The Branch has one or two tenor instruments for loan, to help you decide whether you are comfortable with the additional weight and stretch. Similarly, for descant players, we can loan a treble so that you can see if you want to adapt your fingerings to an instrument in F (as opposed to the descant in C).
We play a range of music of varying difficulty, here we link to some examples – all provided from the branch’s own resources. Probably all of us were insecure and nervous when we first started to play with other people. To help overcome this, we can place you with a more experienced player. Or we may be able to put you in touch with a teacher of recorder. Or strategies like aiming to play only the first note of each bar can be helpful at first. In case you were wondering, we play at modern concert pitch (A=440Hz).
PS: Don’t forget to bring a music stand!