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Recorder at secondary

(14 Posts)
pixiepixel3 Tue 12-Jul-11 17:50:57

DD is 12 going on 13 and she has played the recorder since she was 8. At first it was to be a stepping stone to a 'proper' instrument, but having done grade 1 and 2 and even playing the treble recorder too she is considering going right through to senior exams with it. She did try clarinet but has a dodgy tooth so that was difficult, and she hasn't taken to anything else. Recorders are cheap and easy to care for after all, and they sound lovely in the right hands like DD or her teacher.

Downside - there are no recorder groups for her to join which is why I hope she does something else even alongside recorder. And of course the image it is not cool past about age 9 or 10.

If she enjoys I would just tell her to continue unless she is bullied about it. Anyone with experience of this?

glassescase Tue 12-Jul-11 19:36:19

Our school orchestra played at final assembly- a nice arrangement of dances- and several recorders were involved. Some were played by very glamorous and popular sixth formers.

Thistledew Tue 12-Jul-11 19:45:55

I played the Recorders up to grade 8 level (admittedly didn't do the exams grin but was playing pieces from that level). I always got the comments about moving onto a 'proper' instrument but pointed out that being able to play in each register- descant, treble and bass was not something that any instrument player could do.

There is a lot of great music that you can play on the recorders- practically anything Baroque - and many lovely composers wrote specifically for those instruments, such as Handel, Telleman, Vivaldi and even Bach.

I would suggest that you have a search for an 'Early music' group in your area. It would be great for her to play with a group not necessarily from her school. Or she could team up with a singer- there are many lovely chamber orchestra pieces for voice and recorder.

whippet Tue 12-Jul-11 20:07:47

I played the recorder right through senior school, and went from playing descant and treble through to finally bass (which was unusual and lovely).

After many years I have started playing again, and joined an Early Music group.

I'm sorry to be blunt, Pixel, but it sounds as if YOU have decided it is an 'unsuitable' instrument for her at this age, and if you project this onto her, then that is what she will believe sad.

There are plenty of 'cool' adult recorder players and groups. I suggest you Google 'Piers Adams' and Red Priest/Pirates of the Baroque.

Recorders are absolutely 'proper' instruments, and don't let anyone tell you/ DD otherwise.

If I were you, I would:

- invest in a quality, wood recorder (Moerck / Mollenhauer etc)
- investigate about local SRP (Society of Recorder Players) groups
- look at Recorder Summer Schools
- ask at school about the possibility of starting a recorder/early music group
- let her become a recorder 'advocate' not a victim.

Whereabouts do you live? Near me in the SE I know of at least three recorder groups for your DDs age group.

thetasigmamum Tue 12-Jul-11 20:35:10

whippet while I agree with a lot if what you say, a grade 3 level player wouldn't really be getting a moeck or mollenhauer Unkess there was money to burn. smile

Pixiepixel The recorder is most certainly a proper instrument. And it most certainly isn't confined to baroque or early music. Have a look on YouTube for the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet and see the range of their repertoire - from renaissance (or even earlier) works through to modern works like The Jogger. You might also look for your nearest Recorder Orchestra - there are a few in the south east - they will likely give concerts, and you will be able to see the repertoire possibilities of the instrument. You will also see the full range of recorders - from Garklein at the very top down to sub contrabass at the very bottom. Which is a sight to see (and hear).

A good port of call to find local recorder groups etc would be the Society of Recorder Players. And check out the National Youth Recorder Orchestra which runs non-selective playing days for young people from about Grade 5 upward.

My DD1, who is 13, recently auditioned for and was accepted by NYRO. She got her grade 6 at Easter. Nobody takes the piss out of her at school. She recently performed a Van Eyck piece for a music assessment and the rest of the class were amazed at the complexity of the piece and the performance. To be fair, she does play several other instruments - flute, piano, voice and guitar - but the recorder is her 'first study' instrument.

If your daughter wants to keep up with the instrument, I think you should encourage her. It's not like she can't play other instruments too.

thetasigmamum Tue 12-Jul-11 20:40:39

Oh - full disclosure - I play in a recorder orchestra, and several smaller ensembles, instruments of choice ranging from Garklein to Bass (I'm too small to play the contra, great or subcontra basses). Main instruments currently Sopranino and bass but play the full range in the smaller ensembles. Grade 8s in solo and ensemble recorder when at school, now play mainly for fun but did a lot of paid gigs in my younger days.

IHeartKingThistle Tue 12-Jul-11 20:46:47

I played recorder all the way through senior school and for my GCSE assessments. Went on to join a folk band with it for a while and had a great time!

pixiepixel3 Tue 12-Jul-11 21:31:52

Oh sorry I didn't wish to say I don't see recorders as proper instruments. I did say they sound lovely with the right person, and DDs teacher plays all shapes and sizes of recorder with such style. I have heard all that glorious music for the treble as well. I suppose what peer groups tell you matters most even than educated adults and kids this age can be a bit funny when it comes to stereotypes, only time will tell. Like I say she wont get into a music group at school or realistically with people her own age (teacher mentioned SRP but that is all adults) so for the more social side she should learn something else, unless she enjoys choirs.

thetasigmamum Tue 12-Jul-11 21:49:52

pixiepixel SRP is not all adults. I mean - it might be in your local area - but as a rule, it isn't. As for other music groups - there is no reason why a proficient recorder player couldn't be part of a ceilidh group, or other folk ensemble. And I've seen bass recorders played in jazz ensembles with other instruments. But obviously your DD would have to progress a fair way before that was an option. I guess it's up to you and her whether she does that. If she doesn't want to continue then there is no point making her. smile

pixiepixel3 Fri 15-Jul-11 15:48:26

Well, she is adamant she wants to keep playing the recorder so she will. Wooden recorders have been mentioned as well so we'll investigate that, and the larger tenor and bass recorders. There may be openings in more folky groups as mentioned so will listen out for that. I suppose it could sub for a tin whistle. SRP don't actively exclude children but from what I know our SRP is all adults and too advanced for DD anyway.

She has mentioned bassoon as well as they are in demand but I'll have to save a small fortune for that. (one school in East Ren is flooded with bassoons and elsewhere they are a rarity)

Bue Fri 15-Jul-11 18:27:51

I think it's pretty cool to do recorder to that level and become really good at it (when played badly, ie by most children, it's a dreadful noise). I loved my recorder lessons in primary but all of us abandoned it by secondary. TBH it had never really occured to me that you could take it further!

Theas18 Sat 16-Jul-11 15:59:10

Ok! Well 1st post on mums net about a subject close to my heart.

Like thetasigmamum I'm an active, out of the closet recorder player. My 3 all play at a high level- the older 2 at grade 8 plus and dd2 at grade 5 plus ( she needs to do that damned grade 5 theory to get onto higher grades , but she's only just 12, no rush). Eldest used recorder in performance at AS and A2. ( ds will do at gcse I expect but he's a year off that yet).

We are so lucky in Birmingham as there are 2 schools music service em
Ensembles and the kids have lessons with a teacher who us known world wide in recorder circles.

I have lots of early music/ recorder playing links both through srp and others so feel free to pm me your area and I might be able to help.

Btw don't buy a wooden recorder without decent advice as they are often not any better than the best plastic ones as the tuning can be " interesting".... Plastic will take you up to grade 4-5 easily on treble.

thetasigmamum Sat 16-Jul-11 22:26:43

Theas18 Do they learn with Ross Winters? Or Paul Clarke? Birmingham really is a centre of recorder excellence. DD1 had her NYRO audition there and her teacher went to the conservatoire. Interesting that your DDs are doing ABRSM exams rather than Trinity Guildhall though.....was there a particular reason for that?

Theas18 Mon 18-Jul-11 23:39:51

Pm you! it's a small world!

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