The recorder is a woodwind musical instrument in the group known as internal duct flutes—flutes with a whistle mouthpiece. A recorder can be distinguished from other duct flutes by the presence of thumb-hole for the upper hand and seven finger-holes: three for the upper hand and four for the lower. It is the most prominent duct flute in the western classical tradition. Recorders are made in different sizes with names and compasses roughly corresponding to different vocal ranges. The sizes most commonly in use today are the soprano (aka " descant", lowest note C5), alto (aka " treble", lowest note F4), tenor (lowest note C4) and bass (lowest note F3).
Recorders are traditionally constructed from wood and ivory, while most recorders made in recent years are constructed from moulded plastic. The recorders' internal and external proportions vary, but the bore is generally reverse conical (i.e. tapering towards the foot) to cylindrical, and all recorder fingering systems make extensive use of forked fingerings. The recorder is first documented in Europe in the Middle Ages, and continued to enjoy wide popularity in the renaissance and baroque periods, but was little used in the classical and romantic periods. It was revived in the 20th century as part of the historically informed performance movement and became a popular amateur and educational instrument. Composers who have written for the recorder include Monteverdi, Lully, Purcell, Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann, Johann Sebastian Bach, Paul Hindemith, Benjamin Britten, Leonard Bernstein, Luciano Berio, and Arvo Pärt. Today, there are many professional recorder players who demonstrate the instrument's full solo range and a large community of amateurs.
Recorder Exams from ABRSM
Descant (Soprano) Recorder exams consist of three pieces, chosen by the candidate from the appropriate lists in the current syllabus, scales and arpeggios, sight-reading and aural tests.
Total marks in all individual Practical exams are 150. 100 marks are required to achieve Pass, 120 marks to pass with Merit and 130 marks to pass with Distinction.
There are five grades of assessment.
Tips for learning a new instrument
• Regular (if possible frequent) practise. One of the things that can help is using 5-10 minutes of spare time to fit a quick practise session in. If this is done often you will be surprised at the progress you make.
• Make sure that your instrument is always accessible. Always have it in the place (apart from work or school) where you spend the most time.
• if you do have longer sessions (anything over 30 minutes) try and have a break every 5-10 minutes for beginners or every 20 minutes for more experienced players. A break can be a 5-minute change of exercise or song or an actual break. The reason for the break is to make sure that you can remain focused on your technique and form. The sooner you can play music by employing the correct technique the easier it will become to play and you will improve a lot faster.
• Working on a mixture of exercises to help build correct technique. Also, students that use these shorter periods to work on technical exercises tend to improve faster than the students that work on pieces or songs.
• Learning versions of the songs you want to play that are at your level of ability.
• Have a goal for every time you are on your instrument it will contribute to faster improvement.
• Get a Love2Teach tutor to help guide you through technique and song choice
Fun Facts about learning to play the recorder
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Recorders come in a number of sizes. The four most commonly played today – descant, treble, tenor, and bass – roughly correspond to the four principal voice parts – soprano, alto, tenor and bass.
In many European languages, the word for recorder was the same as the word for flute.
Several attempts have been made to modernize the structure of the recorder. The ‘midfield blockflute,’ created by Michael Barker is one which seeks to combine the traditional recorder with synthesized sounds."
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11th September 2018Read more
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