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 Post subject: Re: Recorder Assistance
PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:46 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:02 pm
Posts: 8
Thanks Feadoggie and whistlecollector.

Yeah, I will continue to search for a good teacher in my area. Until then, I think I'll go along with the Sweet Pipes series, as that was the book I used with my recorder teacher many years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Recorder Assistance
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 5:21 pm
Posts: 1174
Location: Burkburnett, TX
+1 on the Yamaha 300s - but you figured that out already. Once you get comfortable with the instrument, you'll probably find a thumb rest is unnecessary on a soprano, a must on a tenor and "it depends" on an alto.

Not a tutorial but "The Recorder Book" by Kenneth Wollitz is an excellent reference. History, types of music, care of the recorder, breathing, fingering patterns - it's all in there. It's not a book you read in one sitting but one you keep handy to look up stuff, a reference book.

Any of the recorder tutorials will get you started. I still have my copy of the Trapp's "Enjoy Your Recorder." Copyright says 1954 and I bought my copy in about '66 or '67.

Once you get the basics down, if you can't find a good recorder teacher, ask around the local music shops for woodwind or brass teachers. I found a brass instructor at a local shop who freely admitted he knew absolutely nothing about the recorder and was happy to defer to my research on things like fingering. But he did know Music and taught me a lot about the things common to all instruments: tempo, tone, how to practice, what to practice, how to make Music. When I told him the bottom C on my tenor was weak and that was that, he said it wasn't and I just wasn't playing it right. So I asked (ok mister smarty pants) how to do it right and he cheerfully replied he hadn't a clue but he had listened to some recorder recordings (he was doing his homework, too) and the Yamahas had nice, strong bell notes so there was a way to make it sound that way. My homework that week was to figure it out. It took a couple weeks but I did.

Don't be afraid to walk away from a teacher who doesn't click with you. Before I found the guy above I talked to a big music shop where they told me all their instructors were great recorder teachers. When I asked how many recorder students they had - "well, uh, none." How many recorder students had they EVER had -" well, um, you'll be the first, but ALL our instructors are great recorder teachers." I didn't go back.

Some music stores and teachers try to interview you and make you feel like you are applying for a position with them. Nope, other way round. You are hiring them to teach you and the music teacher is the one interviewing for the job. Hire an individual you can get along with and who will teach you what you need to learn.

Welcome to C&F and the world of fipple flutes. You have a wonderful journey ahead of you.

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What would a wild walrus whistle if a walrus could whistle wild?

The second mouse may get the cheese but the presentation leaves a lot to be desired.


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 Post subject: Re: Recorder Assistance
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:12 am
Posts: 509
Location: Northern Italy
I hope you're enjoying your recorder journey. I was in the same place as you a few years ago - picked up recorder after many years of not playing an instrument. I too started with the wood finish Yamaha soprano, but soon switched to alto. I find soprano soon tires my ears, and - more importantly - most of the serious repertoire for recorder is for the alto. I have a couple of sopranos I use for van Eyck, but little else.

After five years of acquiring recorders - I have five now, two Coolsma's, the Mollenhauer modern keyed alto, a blackwood Kobliczek renaissance soprano and a lovely Mollenhauer keyless tenor - I find that the Yamaha alto is the one I actually play the most. It has perfect tuning, the top notes speak easily, and you can get a lot of expression out of it. It really has no faults, except for a rather "plastic", some might say sterile tone. But in terms of response and reliability I'd say it's easily the equal of a Coolsma handmade recorder, which would cost at least 20 times as much.

The problem with most tutor books I've seen is that the music itself is aimed at children, both in the use of soprano as the instrument and in the music itself. If you stick with the instrument, you should be able to play simple baroque music in a few months; I strongly recommend getting the Baroque Solo Book (ed. Bernard Thomas) which gives a good overview of the standard repertoire (mostly written for baroque flute and transposed for alto recorder); many of the simpler pieces are approachable after six months or so, and it's an inspiration, something to aim at. It is very motivating to suddenly find that a piece you stumbled your way through a few months or a year previously is now fully within your reach. Playford and Van Eyck are also good options - basically traditional tunes, with variations of sometimes considerable difficulty in the latter case. Very approachable from early on.

The graded approach of tutors is all very well, but the music is usually insipid and I also believe that it's not a bad thing to try music that is considerably above your level, as a way of seeing what the (not too distant) future holds. I spent a lot of time struggling with the Sarabande from the Bach flute partita a year or so after starting with the the recorder and made an awful hash of it - but it kept me aiming higher and I now enjoy playing it very much. Of course it also works the other way - refining and refining the simpler pieces, finding your own way of playing them and applying new techniques to them as you progress. You can never say that you have finished learning a piece of music, imo.

Well I see that this has turned into a dissertation. Apologies! Good luck, it's a wonderful and very challenging instrument, and its repertoire includes some of the most delightful music ever written.

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