I wrote a tutorial a couple of weeks ago showing how to make a recorder bag. Here it is if you’ve not seen it yet.
I made ours for Henry as he’s having recorder lessons at school and he cycles to school each morning with his rucksack on his back and really anything can happen in those 20 minutes, some of which I’m not sure a descant recorder would survive. I made it as protection but also as somewhere for Henry to store his recorder in between lessons.
Making the recorder bag reminded me of my own recorder playing days. I started in Primary School and learning to read music somehow made sense to me and I progressed really quickly through the tutor books and soon started learning the treble recorder too.
I wasn’t as lucky as Henry in that I didn’t have my own recorder. I borrowed one from ‘the cupboard’ that all schools seem to have at that time. It was a large wooden cupboard with 2 doors that was against the wall in the musical teachers classroom. Each week I would go to the cupboard and choose the least manky-est recorder that didn’t have green stuff growing out of the mouthpiece and didn’t smell too foul. Those were the days of no health and safety, no steri-wipes that kill all the bugs and it was more of a it-hasn’t-killed-anyone-yet-so-I’m-sure-you’ll-be-fine era that just doesn’t exist in the schools of today.
I was then allowed to take one of the recorders home and that’s where my interest in music really started.
I started playing the cello and put the recorder on the back-burner for a few years until I needed a second instrument in order to get into Music College. I didn’t play the piano and my tutor at the time suggested I used my recorder playing skills (I’d dabbled about on the recorder at college for my A Levels and was still pretty proficient) I did and I won places at the 3 Music Colleges that I auditioned for.
One Music College offered me an unconditional place and also a scholarship to study the recorder as my second study. This, I thought, was a fab offer and it’s the one that I eventually took.
The recorder doesn’t always have the best reputation, I know that. I’ve played with an orchestra, taken exams and passed with distinction but I’ve also taught 4 classes of 30 children how to play the recorder from the very beginning. It’s a fabulous instrument but I do acknowledge that the first few notes to learn can be quite painful on the ear for parents and teachers.
What a recorder teaches a young child is a huge range of musical skills though. Reading music, playing in a group, the discipline of practice (and the consequences of not). It develops listening skills and physical memory and all these skills are transferable to not only learning other instruments but also they are life skills. I can listen to my children talking and also follow a radio play in the car and I attribute this to the years of playing in ensembles and studying for exams.
I would have given the world for my very own recorder when I was young. It wasn’t until I went to music college that I earned the money and bought the most beautiful wooden treble recorder that I still have in my workroom today. I do play it occasionally and when I do the boys love the jigs that I make up and they are enthralled by their Mummy who is the sewing teacher but also the ex teacher and ex cellist. They love hearing me do the thing I used to do before they came along.
I have made an extra recorder bag and I’ve also put inside it a brand new Aulos descant recorder that’s looking for a small person to play with.
If you’d like to be entered into the draw to win the bag and the recorder please click on the tweet below and re-tweet.
— Little White Cottage (@fromtheworkroom) October 27, 2015
The draw closes on Sunday 1st November 2015 at 3pm and the winner will be announced on Sunday 1st November at 9pm.