QUOTE(notmusimum @ Jul 18 2008, 06:00 PM)
I do think that Recorder could provide a stepping stone to other instruments but don't see why it should be like that and can't be enjoyed for it's own sake. It's really gone from could to would in lots of situations in that there are no opportunities to continue at high school and little specialist teaching.
I think it's perfectly fine as a serious instrument in its own right /and/ useful as a stepping stone to other woodwinds.
The thing thing that's so horrible about that website article is that it doesn't really acknowledge either of these facets, instead dismissing it as just a cheap and easy instrument for primary schools.
Playing any woodwind instrument will help on one level with others and yes the student will be in the mindset and undertand about breath generally. Frankly I don't think this happens too much with Recorder teaching no matter how young the children are when they start. Emsoboe probably has brought more to her Recorder playing from Oboe rather than the other way round.
Presumably due to having better teaching on oboe than recorder?
There's definitely no reason why people can use other woodwinds as stepping stones to recorder. :-)
Whether it works with recorder being the first woodwind depends on whether the recorder tuition is up to scratch.
I know I'm sighting one families experience but it's all in the quality of the teaching and I don't think our experiences were much different to other forumites. Basically a disinterested Brass player who had little knowledge of Recorder technique and not much inclination to learn it, a lot of the time she turned up late or not at all.
That's exactly the problem. Turn a whole class of kids, armed with recorders (some of very dubious quality), loose with little or no specialist teaching and you have the very thing that's given the recorder such a poor image.
If recorder is going to be taught in primary schools, it would be better taught by recorder specialists, if possible to smaller groups rather than whole classes at a time, and the kids should have reasonable quality plastic instruments (e.g. Aulos, Yamaha, Dolmetsch).
I'm in possession of a 99p "recorder" (bought from a well-known high street chain) and it is a horrible horrible thing. I'm an OKish recorder player and I can't make it sound nice. It's barely playable. (I don't have it for recorder-related purposes, but to use as part of a music tech project, but it's so truly dire that I'm weighing up the possibility of using Yamahas for that instead).
I know someone who's a primary school teacher and who doesn't play any instruments herself, but is teaching recorder in school. How can she teach something she doesn't really understand herself?!
That's even worse than the example you cite, where at least the non-specialist teacher was some sort of muso!
The good thing about our area is the Recorder ensembles which do have all the Recorders in there and teachers who enocurage development to the best of their ability even though they themselves are not specialists.
Ensemble playing is one of the best things about playing the recorder.
I changed schools after year 5, and everyone at my new school had been learning recorder since year 4, so in year 6 (my first year there) we did stuff for SSAT recorders.
In senior school we had a small baroque recorder ensemble (playing mostly SATB, 2 to a part).
The understanding of breath control will be very superficial though and whilst there are some transferable skills they can't be that indepth as everyone would be able to play every instrument and we know it's not true.
There's enough in common between the different woodwinds that playing any one of them gives you a headstart on the others, compared to starting with no prior woodwind experience. Of course there's still a lot of instrument-specific technique to be tackled with each new instrument and not every instrument will suit every person.