by Tamsyn

February 12, 2011

Recently as we were shopping at the Dollar Store, I ran across not one, but two recorders in a package, encouraging parents to introduce music into their home. Great! Cheap recorders that won’t play in tune being introduced to children everywhere!Forgive me if that sounds harsh, but my own experience as a child with a cheap recorder has scarred me a little. Don’t get me wrong, my parents paid top-dollar to give me piano lessons with a great teacher, and my overall musical development was not hindered by the cheap recorder they gave me. But it wasn’t a smart move, and I’ll tell you why.
I was so excited to get my recorder. I eagerly skimmed through the booklet that came with it, studied the fingerings, and attempted to play through the songs. It sounded terrible! Not only was the music not in tune, but it had a harsh whistle overtone that made my playing annoying to all who heard me, including myself. Did I go to my parents and demand that they get a refund for a faulty piece of equipment? Of course not. In my childhood way, I concluded that I was not meant to play the recorder, that I just didn’t have what it takes, and that I might as well give up. And I did, for several years.
It wasn’t until I was in college and took my Orff-Schulwerk training that I picked it up again. We were given Angel and Yamaha recorders as part of the registration fee, and both instruments have served me well. In the two week course, not only did I learn how to play simple songs, I also overcame all of my childhood insecurities in the instrument, and I determined that I would teach my own children when the time came. Part of this inner victory came from having an excellent instructor, but more of it came from having a proper instrument that I was able to experience success with. A good recorder is less than $10 USD, and is so worth the extra investment.
The moral of the story? Do NOT purchase a recorder at the dollar store. It simply is not worth it.

About the author 


My name is Tamsyn and I love music. I got my bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from USU. I spent many years teaching private piano lessons until I had children of my own. I have attended several children workshops on how to teach children music. I really like the Kodaly method, but have adapted a lot of different techniques for my own children.

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