Schottenbauer Publishing

Saturday, May 16, 2015

What Age to Start Learning Recorder?

With The Big Print Music Method, almost anyone can learn to play the recorder! With extra-large fingering charts, color-coded keyboards, and oversized staves, The Big Print Music Method provides convenient, easy music education for a wider range of ages and conditions than ever before!

What is the best age for learning recorder? The answer to this question is linked to the size of the recorder. Recorders are available in many sizes, from small to large. The smallest, the garklein, is tiny enough for a 3-year-old child to hold! The sizing chart below provides a guide to selecting a recorder, for individuals of average build:

Age 3+     Garklein in C
Age 5+     Sopranino in F
Age 7+     Soprano in C
Age 10+   Alto in F
Age 15+   Tenor in C
Age 15+   Bass in F

Students should note that tenor and bass instruments are very similar in their requirements for the size of hand, with several caveats. Most bass recorders have keys for the lowest holes in both hands, which ironically makes the fingering span more comfortable than the natural tenor recorder. In contrast, the tenor recorder is available in many models, some of which offer the traditionally large span, and others which feature extra keys and/or a bent neck, resulting in a shorter span between fingers.

A few additional details are useful when choosing a recorder. First of all, buyers should be aware that the tuning requirements for recorder vary widely, due to different historical standards. Students should check that the recorder is in tune with other recorders being used in the same musical ensemble. The term "tuning" refers to the frequency of pitch for the A, which is modern times is usually set at 440 Hertz for all pianos, plus band and symphony orchestra instruments. Historical recorders may be manufactured for a pitch of 442 or 445 Hertz, resulting in instruments which are chronically out of tune with modern instruments. 

Second, it is necessary to know whether the recorder has been created with Baroque/English or German fingerings. Although only slightly different, these fingerings may be difficult to unlearn at a later point in time. Solve this proactively by selecting the right equipment for your school or ensemble!

Third, students should know the proper ranges of the recorder being purchased. The lowest pitch of a recorder is either C or F, although some modern high-end recorders have extensions for one or two lower notes. These conventions around lowest pitch presents a challenge for learning fingerings. The same pattern of fingerings map to different notes, depending on the lowest note of the recorder. Therefore, for the typical student, it is easier to specialize in only recorders in C or recorders in F.

Fourth, buyers should be aware of the options for quality and price range for recorders. The most common models, soprano recorders in C, are usually made of plastic and cost only $3 to $5 at most music stores. These models are fine for learning recorder. Most importantly, the plastic mouthpiece can safely be washed, which is necessary for good hygiene if the recorder is to be played by more than one student. The next most affordable recorders are the plastic garklein in C, sopranino in F, and alto in F, which may be available for $20 to $30 each. Tenor and bass recorders in plastic are usually much higher in cost. The best value is the Harmony recorder set, consisting of plastic models (sopranino through bass), available from West Music for just under $200. Schools, parents, and students who require the best are advised to purchase wooden recorders, which begin around $100 and may cost as much as thousands of dollars each. 

Once a recorder has been selected, consider The Big Print Music Method. free sample of the Big Print Exercises for Soprano Recorder (German Fingerings), is available for download from MusicaNeoExcerpts from several of The Big Print Music Method exercise books and Big Print Ensemble are located below. 

Excerpt from The Big Print Recorder Method Booster

Excerpt from The Big Print Recorder Method,
3-Note Exercises

Excerpt from The Big Print Recorder Method,
Interval Exercises

Excerpt from Big Print Ensemble

The Big Print Music Method is available from MusicaNeo for as little as $4 per e-file. Books in the series are also available in print from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-a-MillionCreateSpace, CreateSpace Direct Wholesale, and other internet retailers. 

Worldwide, books in The Big Print Music Method are available through internet retailers such as Amazon in AustraliaBrazilCanadaChinaFranceGermanyIndiaItaly