The alto recorder was the choice of musical instrument that my husband and I made as we chose to begin this new hobby. He had played clarinet in school and I had played trumpet and then French horn. It had been years since either of us had played a musical instrument and we were a little anxious but very interested. We both enjoyed playing in both marching band and concert band in high school. We had both been members of woodwind ensembles. Playing the recorder was intriguing.
We began by purchasing our alto recorders online. His has a wood grain appearance with beige accents and mine is a smooth glossy dark brown with beige accents. Both are produced by Yamaha. We purchased the thumb rest accessory immediately. The thumb rest makes holding the instrument much more comfortable. Both instruments came with a small case, cleaning rod and finger chart.
We searched online for an instructor and found one through the American Recorder Society’s web site. We called and made arrangements for lessons. We began with weekly lessons and continued until we were satisfied with our ability to play the recorder fluently. After a certain amount of lessons it seemed like what we needed then was practice and the desire to play often. We did take part in a recital group where various students played as well as small groups. It was interesting to see the wide range of abilities, instruments, groups, and music performed.
The American Recorder Society had a chapter near us which we joined. It was great to attend this group which offered so much. The people were friendly and knowledgeable and eager to share their music and techniques. We participated in one small group and listened to both larger groups. They had an antique music group and a more contemporary music group. They had monthly meetings at which an individual or small group would perform.
My husband and I do enjoy playing and especially enjoy playing duets. We purchased a soprano recorder and a sopranino recorder later to add more versatility to the music we could play together. Adding the soprano meant learning fingering for this new instrument but the sopranino used the same fingering as the alto recorder. The sopranino is also so small that although the fingering is the same as the alto you have to become familiar with the keys being so close together. The sopranino sounds a lot like a piccolo. The high, shrill sound does not make our cat happy.
Finding music to play became a challenge. We are able to order music online, at some music shops and at many used book stores. We have a wide range of music to choose from now. It is great to be able to choose seasonal music from our books and to play Christmas carols, other holiday music, ancient or antique music, classical, and contemporary music when we wish.
It has been a joy to be able to reacquaint ourselves with a hobby that began in grade school, developed through high school and again has brought us joy.