Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Playing the Recorder

 Dear Flutelovers,

How many of us started the flute by starting the recorder first? Please comment if you have a story on this.  I started in grade 3 and the only song I remember is "Go From My Window (Go...go...)". But what a song that is! :>)

When I switched to flute at age 11 I couldn't believe how much I loved the sound quality, and how much easier it was to learn after learning the recorder first. So I too would be alarmed if the schools didn't each such child-friendly instruments in the early grades anymore. There was an article about that this week in the UK news, from which comes this quote:


  “It’s a vastly complex instrument,” says Sarah Jeffery. “It’s even a little bit dangerous”, she adds with a smile, “because every little move you make can be heard.” My first encounter with Jeffery, a classically-trained recorder player and educator, was via her YouTube channel Team Recorder, a platform where she publishes weekly tutorials on all aspects of playing and music-making. Started in 2016, and triggered by a frustration that “there was no information about the recorder online at all,” Jeffery filmed her first video sitting on her bed, and it immediately took off.

“I try and keep it real,” she says. “One week I’ll be talking about French baroque ornamentation, and then I’ll do a tutorial on Taylor Swift because that’s what I’m listening to,” she laughs. The channel now boasts 191,000 subscribers, and has brought her into contact with passionate communities from all over the world. “Music should be fun,” she emphasises. But her YouTube channel is also there to inform. Where there is indifference, there is also ignorance.

Sarah Jeffery online recorder tutorials are here.


Of course this led to listening to some amazing recorder playing on youtube this morning (we're in a heatwave here) which brought back memories of recorder players I've known and worked with and some of the great techniques they use. These are some of the best videos I found today below, played by Lucie Horsch . Naturally, as we get closer to September I'll be talking flute again. That's for sure. Enjoy! And comment if you remember the great recorder!! :>)

Best, Jen

Vivaldi Concerto ‘Per Flautino’ performed by Lucie Horsch, recorder (video)

Les Folies d'Espagne - Marais performed by Lucie Horsch, recorder, Thomas Dunford, lute (video)

Libertango - Piazzola performed by Lucie Horsch, recorder (video)

Comment button below!! Happy August (and no heat waves!)

Comments (6)
Blogger Natasha said...

Hi Jen! In my school, all students played recorder in grade 4. I had already been playing piano for a few years, but I *loved* my little white Yamaha recorder. It was so much fun! My teacher had a wooden recorder, and I thought it was absolutely beautiful. In grade 5 students were divided into two streams, and I joined the concert band and played flute, naturally. I must confess I never loved my concert flute as much as my recorder, but who played the recorder? I didn’t know it was a “real instrument”. Piano remained my main instrument, but I continued playing flute into my university years.
A few years ago I was watching a performance of a Bach cantata with my children and the orchestra included two alto recorders. I was enchanted! Shortly thereafter I bought a nice plastic alto recorder—the Zen-On Bressan model—and I am loving playing the recorder again after all these years! Just this week I purchased a wooden Mollenhauer soprano, and I love it as much as I knew I would when I was a little girl.
I no longer play my concert flute, but, enamoured with all things baroque, I have also been discovering the Traverso, which is almost as much fun as the recorder :).

Wednesday, August 16, 2023 1:36:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

Oh Natasha your tale is wonderful!
Thankyou so so much for sharing that!
Best, Jen :>)

Wednesday, August 16, 2023 4:21:00 PM

Anonymous Bruys said...

Hello Jen, I came to flute as an adult learner through recorder. I still play recorder which I am fairly good at, and persist with flute which I’m not so good at. I learnt the basics of recorder as a child, and returned to it in later life with a deeper appreciation of it. I love the similarities, and the differences, of flute and recorder. Each instrument has its strengths. Recorder and traverso having so few keys seem to have a closer connection to the player. Recorder also has the advantage that a decent instrument for beginners is inexpensive. My favourite recorder player is Genevieve Lacey who combines virtuosity, feeling, and inventiveness in creating new musical environments - well worth checking anything on the internet about her. Once one gets beyond the basics of any instrument, improvement is often a case of quite subtle adjustments - your postings are a source of fantastic inspiration and suggestions for experiment.

Friday, August 18, 2023 6:12:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

Wow, thankyou so much Bruys. What a fascinating read, and I will definitely look up Genevieve Lacey immediately. Wow. Thanks for your input.

Friday, August 18, 2023 7:30:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi Jen! i played flute briefly in grade 6, i wasn't encouraged by my parents or music teacher so I quickly lost interest. Fast forward many years later when i was cleaning out my son's room and found his white, plastic recorder. it had only cost us $5.00 but it seemed a waste to throw it away. i cleaned it up, found a book online, and i have been in love ever since!

Thursday, October 19, 2023 6:55:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

Well THAT story gives me a smile! :>)

Thursday, October 19, 2023 8:47:00 PM


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