How to play the recorder

The recorder is one of the easiest instruments to master. You’ve probably already guessed how to use it, but anyway let us present in this short introduction some basic information about the instrument. Let’s start!


The recorder may be, but does not have to be, made up of two or three parts that fit together to make up the whole instrument. Usually, however, it is ready to play straight away. At the top is the mouthpiece, the part that you need to blow into to make a sound. Along the length of the recorder there are seven holes on top and one underneath which allow you to make sounds of different pitches.


The mouth:
Place the recorder on the lower lip; there is no need to put it deep into the mouth. To make a nice sound, you need to blow as if you were pronouncing the syllable β€œtoo”. The strength of the breath is important – it cannot be either too hard or too soft. Somewhere in between πŸ™‚ You can play in different ways, e.g. each new sound is a separate β€œtoo” or you can make several sounds from a single β€œtoo”. To practice, it’s a good idea to repeat the syllable with the same sound a number of times and to listen to hear whether it sounds nice.

Place your hands in the following way: the left hand at the top of the recorder and the right at the bottom. The thumb of the left hand covers the hole on the underside of the recorder and three fingers cover the first three holes on top, starting with the index finger. Cover the other four holes with the fingers of the right hand, again starting with the index finger. Place the thumb of the right hand on the bottom of the recorder. It is not used to play, but usually helps to hold the instrument.


For every song in our book, you will find the lyrics and a drawing showing you which holes to cover. Additional drawings are subtitled with names of the sounds so if you know them or can remember them after a while, they will help you to play.

These drawings are called fingerings. How to read them? The first dot from the top is the hole at the bottom of the recorder, the one covered by the thumb. The next three from the top are the left-hand holes and the next four the right hand. Intuitive, don’t you think?

Of course, when a hole is colored in, that means you have to cover it. The trick is to do it very exactly. If the hole is not fully covered by the finger, it will not sound nice. So we recommend starting by practicing just covering the holes to do it as precisely as possible.

Notes, where you have to cover a lot of holes, will be harder to play than those where you cover fewer. Keep this in mind when you start learning and choose those songs that have the fewest and simplest notes.

One last thing: note that higher notes may require only covering half the hole with the thumb (the one on the underside of the recorder). You’ll find everything in the drawings.

Good luck!