How to Play Happy Birthday on the Recorder

By Curtis Fease
3 Wind Instruments (Recorder is tan)

Recorders have been around for centuries. Leeds City Museum has possession of a recorder that is made of sheep bone and dates back to the Iron Age. Since that time, the recorder has become a familiar instrument. Some schools even teach children in elementary school to play the recorder for music class. One of the easier songs to play on a recorder is "Happy Birthday," which generally takes just a few minutes of practice to learn.

Hold the recorder up to your mouth. Your left hand should be positioned to press the upper holes on the recorder. Your right hand should be positioned to press the lower holes. The thumb of your left hand should be positioned to press on the hole that is on the underside of the recorder. The first 3 fingers of your left hand should be positioned to cover the first 3 holes. The 4 fingers of your right hand should be positioned to cover the lower 4 holes on the recorder.

Place the mouthpiece of the recorder in your mouth. Cover the first 6 holes on the recorder and the hole on the underside of the recorder. This is a low D note. Blow into the recorder twice to make the first 2 notes of the song (DD). Remove your finger from the sixth hole after playing the first 2 notes and once again blow into the recorder. This will make the third note, low E. Press your finger back onto the sixth hole and blow again, making another low D note.

Stop covering the last 3 holes that were covered for a low D after playing the low D. Now only the first 3 holes and the hole on the underside should be covered. Blow into the recorder to make this note, note G, once.

Keep your fingers in position for the G note, but cover the fifth and sixth holes as well. This will leave the fourth hole uncovered. Blow into the recorder to make this note, #F, once.

Refer back to Step 2 to play the notes DD E D again. This is played in the exact way as described in Step 2. After playing these 4 notes again, move your fingers so that only the first 2 holes and the hole on the underside are covered. Blow into the recorder to make this note, note A.

Cover the first 3 holes and the underside hole to play the G note after playing the A note.

Cover the first 6 holes and the underside hole after playing the G note in Step 6. Blow twice into the recorder to once again play the notes DD. Once finished playing these notes, cover the second hole on the recorder, and no other holes. Not even the underside hole should be covered. Blow into the recorder to make a high D note.

Cover the first hole and the underside hole after completing Step 7. Blow into the recorder to make the B note. Now cover the first 3 holes and underside hole and blow once to play the G note again. Play the #F note again by covering the first 3 holes, the fifth and sixth holes, and the underside hole.

Cover the first 5 holes and the underside hole to play note E again, but continue blowing for a few seconds to extend the note.

Cover the second hole and the underside hole. This is a C note. Blow into the recorder twice to play CC. Cover the first hole and the underside hole to play B. Cover the first 3 holes and underside hole to play G. Cover the first 2 holes and underside hole to play A. Finally, cover the first 3 holes and underside hole to play note G one last time.

Warning

Be careful with your recorder. Some less expensive models are made from plastic.

About the Author

Curtis Fease started writing professionally in 2007. He has a dual bachelor's degree in psychology and criminal justice from Augusta State University.