After "mandatory" recorder lessons in his school, my 6 year old son wants to learn to play recorder properly. So, this question is two-fold.

  1. What recorder should I pick for him? He currently has a Yamaha recorder picked up from a local charity shop for £3. I play recorder myself a bit - and I struggle to make it sounds well. I don't want to spend a lot, at least until he decides whether recorder is an instrument for him.

  2. I learned to play by myself when I was in my early 20s, basically by trial and error, so my experience isn't applicable to a 6-year old. It's impossible to find a local teacher or lessons in the current lockdown situation in the UK. So, how can I help him learn without waiting until next Autumn?

5 Answers 5


Do "tongue" to articulate the starts of notes. Lots of beginner players "huff" to start each note, and it's tiring and doesn't sound very nice. Get a good tonguing technique from the word go and it will pay dividends.

And recorders shriek only because they're overblown. So encourage listening to get the most beautiful sound possible.

I'd encourage duets as well. Your son will remember playing duets with you when he's older. Doing something with your parent on equal terms is good for kids.

And find some recorder playing you can aspire to. I've seen Piers Adams in concert and I'm in awe.


Yamaha make good instruments. The one he's got is probably fine. Good catch for £3!

Sounds like you know enough music to teach him. There's not a lot of technique to recorder playing. Get an instruction book to check you're not inventing 'wrong' fingerings and concentrate on the musical aspect. What can you play along with him? Can you obtain another recorder?


Given that you play a bit, it's time to get better!

There are plenty of e-books etc. out there, but if you can play 5 or 6 notes, you can make a start. certainly the first few notes, all l.h. fingerings, can be fun. And it must be fun. learn to play 3 or 4 notes. Play follow-my-leader: you play a note, he echoes. You pay two notes, he... you get the picture.

No need initially to get to the 'potentially boring' bit, of reading music. That can follow, with the explanation of why it needs to be written. make it up! There's a start.


I taught myself it as a child, but I wish someone had told me not to lift my fingers so far off the holes, and I wish they had told me to start each note with a "tu" instead of just blowing.

As Laurence said, check the fingerings. I worked out rough-and-ready fingerings (for the lowest F and the C above it, for example) and blew a bit softer or harder to get them in tune. It might have been better to have learnt the perfect fingerings from the start, or maybe it would have put me off the whole thing.

I was pretty excited when I learned the top note. On a descant it's the Eb two and a quarter octaves above the lowest note. (3rd and 4th fingers of each hand and toot loudly.) It's very penetrating. I played that note a lot.


The other answers seem to have forgotten that the recorder is a family. By age 6 his hands should be big enough for either an Alto or a Soprano. I might recommend checking out an Alto because it will not be as "shrieky" as the Soprano.

Work with your child to help him play as relaxed as possible, since overblowing is often difficult to get rid of when tense.

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