How to Play the Plastic Recorder With a Fingering Chart

By Etch Tabor
The recorder is a woodwind instrument.

A plastic recorder is a basic woodwind instrument. It emits a sound when air, supplied by the user, is blown through the mouthpiece and into the body of the instrument. The different pitches of the instrument are created by covering and releasing holes on the recorder's body. The more holes that are covered, the lower the pitch. Learning how to play the plastic recorder is a good introduction for playing more complex woodwinds, such as the clarinet. With a fingering chart, you can begin playing the recorder in a matter of minutes.

Sit with your back straight. You want to keep your diaphragm free of obstruction when playing as to allow steady airflow.

Hold the recorder with your left hand placed closer to the mouthpiece and your right hand near the bottom of the instrument. You will want to tilt the recorder so that it is at a 45-degree angle from your mouth.

Place the thumb of your left hand on the underside of the recorder so that the fleshy part of the thumb covers the hole. Place the rest of your left hand's fingers on the four holes closest to the mouthpiece.

Place the mouthpiece to your lips and blow softly. To end a note, abruptly stop the airflow. To practice proper blowing technique, say the word "Du." To stop, use a softly spoken "D" sound.

Study your fingering chart. Most fingering charts for the recorder will have a filled-in circle to represent when a hole should be covered. If a circle is half filled, that means that you should only partially cover the hole. The circle represented to the side of the recorder in most fingering charts represents the left-hand thumb hole.

Look at the various notes and move your fingers over the holes that correspond with the filled-in circles on the chart. Softly blow. Practice going back and forth from note to note so that you can develop muscle memory. This will enable you to eventually quickly switch from note to note.

Tip

If you do not have a basic understanding of music, such as scales, you may want to study up on the basic elements of music in addition to recorder fingerings.

About the Author

For three years, Etch Tabor worked as the technology and online editor at "InsideCounsel" magazine, a national publication for in-house counsel. He currently is a full-time freelance writer, specializing in legal, technology and comedy writing. He graduated in 2004 from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in journalism.