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How to Play Amazing Grace on the Recorder

Amazing Grace is one of the most beloved hymns of all time. It is simple to play on the recorder once you know how to hold the instrument and what the notes are that you need. Learn these two things and you'll be playing Amazing Grace in minutes.

Recorder Prep

Hold the recorder correctly. Place your left thumb on the thumb hole (the single hole on the back of the recorder) and your first three fingers of the left hand on the top three holes on the front. Then place the first three fingers of your right hand over the next three holes in the front, with your thumb resting on the back of the instrument comfortably. Hold the instrument and cover the holes using the pads of your fingers. You should be holding the recorder at about a 45-degree angle.

Place the mouthpiece of the recorder just on top of your bottom lip and let your upper lip come to rest on the top of the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece should not be very far in your mouth--you should be able to touch it with your tongue but the mouthpiece shouldn't rest on the tongue in the mouth.

Blow very gently--not a lot of air is needed for this instrument.


Learn the following notes and fingerings--these are the notes in Amazing Grace:

low D: right hand (RH) = thumb, 1, 2, 3; left hand (LH) = 1, 2, 3 G: RH = thumb, 1, 2, 3 B: RH = thumb, 1 A: RH = thumb, 1, 2 E: RH = thumb, 1, 2, 3; LH = 1, 2 high D: RH = 2 (no thumb)

Practice shifting from the different notes until the fingerings are comfortable for you.

Review the words to Amazing Grace to prepare to play the song.

Put It All Together

Play the first line (Amazing grace, how sweet the sound) using the following notes: low D, G, B, G, B, A, G, E, low D

Play the second line (that saved a wretch like me) using the following notes: low D, G, B, G, B, A, B, high D

Play the third line (I once was lost but now am found) using the following notes: B, high D, B, high D, B, G, low D, E, G, G, E, low D

Play the last line (was blind but now I see) using the following notes: low D, G, B, G, B, A, G


If you are getting a lot of high notes as you try to play, you probably are blowing too hard or have too much mouthpiece in your mouth. Reduce the amount of air you send through the instrument and try pulling the mouthpiece out a bit. This also will help with intonation problems.


  • Don't play the recorder right next to someone's ear. The pitches can be rather shrill and putting the recorder close to someone's ear while playing can result in pain.
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