Wrong note on the recorder

21st July 2000 at 01:00
AT least the children of Gwaunfarren primary school have the opportunity to play the recorder - but will they ever see it as a real instrument, given the headteacher's apparent attitude (TES, July 7)?

Yes, the recorder has a huge advantage over other instruments in price: a great opportunity to make learning an instrument possible for all children. However, the assumption that

it can be taught by any reasonably intelligent adult is only too representative of the ignorance shown by so many.

As a recorder teacher myself, Ihave heard many children who, while obviously enthusiastic and musically-able, have no idea of the most basic techniques in their recorder playing. The complete absence of tonguing; lazy, out-of-tune fingering; even the removal of the foot joint to make the instrument lighter... such bad practice will be only too familiar to many. By all means teach the recorder as much as possible in schools - but make sure that the teacher is a recorder player, not just a recorder teacher.

Beth Callender

Pershore Road, Birmingham

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