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Soprano Recorder Basics for Those Considering Playing One

Updated on June 14, 2017
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Bob Craypoe (also known as R. L. Crepeau) is a musician, writer, webmaster, 3D artist, and creator of the Punksters comic strip series.

Image created from, created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R.L.. Crepeau
Image created from, created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R.L.. Crepeau

I think most people are familiar with what a soprano recorder is, or at least a recorder. The most commonly played one, by the way, is the soprano recorder. You might have seen kids play them at various grade school functions and thought it was a nice, cute little novelty instrument. However, a soprano recorder is every bit as much a valid instrument as a guitar, keyboard or set of drums.

Basically every instrument you would want to ever try to play involves some sort of study in order to learn. That also applies the soprano recorder. It may just be that you have never really heard someone play a soprano recorder proficiently or skillfully but people like that are out there. Look on YouTube.

I think the soprano recorder has a bad reputation because many schools may require, as part of their music curriculum, children to learn to play at least one instrument. Some kids may come from a family that can't afford an expensive musical instrument to rent or own, so the soprano recorder comes into play. It is a cheap instrument that could be purchased for under twenty dollars.

Since a soprano recorder can be purchased so cheaply, it has the reputation of being a toy rather than a real instrument. But would you be surprised to know that there have actually been concertos composed featuring the recorder? Well it's true. Vivaldi composed some concertos for the recorder. So even legendary composers throughout history took the instrument seriously.

There are so many genres of music out there. Maybe you think that something like a soprano recorder would be useless for the genres of music you play. But look at the recorder with the same way you would view a flute. After all, the sounds are very similar.

Flute had been used in classic rock bands like Jethro Tull and the Marshall Tucker Band. Jethro Tull is more on the hard rock side while Marshall Tucker is somewhat on the country side. And what about the classic song "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin? That's not the flute being played, that's a recorder, by the way.

Sure, most of the recorders people see being played are the cheap plastic ones. But there are better and more expensive ones as well. The great thing about the cheap ones is that you could buy a cheap one and see if you have a knack for it. If you do, then you could always purchase a better one.

The funny thing is that we often don't know what we may have a knack for as far as playing a musical instrument is concerned, until we try it. One example is Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. He started out on guitar but gave it up because he thought he would never be as good as someone like Eric Clapton. So he bought a flute and thought he would give it a try. He had a knack for the instrument and was playing it quite proficiently within a very short period of time.

I know one musician who plays a number of instruments and among them are wind instruments. He also plays some percussion instruments as well. I have seen him play in a number of band situations and he is one person you would love to have in a band. He offers so much diversity to a band's sound, from song to song.

For one song, he might be doing some hand percussion. Then on another song he would be playing harmonica. Then he would take out his flute or other wind instrument like recorder, penny whistle and so on. He provides so much variety that a musician like him is really quite a rare find. Because of his rareness, it makes him more valuable as a musician.

Suppose you were to try it out. Maybe you are someone who has a natural knack for the instrument. I myself have a knack for stringed instruments that are plucked. Learning a new stringed instrument comes easy to me. However, on percussion, I don't have that same natural ability. Yet I have seen some people just pick up the drums at a late age and learn quickly and turn out to be great drummers within a short period of time. It's because they just have the natural ability to play the drums.

The same could be true regarding the soprano recorder. You may find that after a short period of time, you can play it well. The good thing about a cheap instrument like a soprano recorder is the fact that you could get started on it very cheaply.

I feature some songs and scales on one of my websites where someone could learn some basics online for free. The link is

As far as purchasing a soprano recorder goes, you could just go to and run a search for one. You should easily be able to find one there. Yamaha makes a good cheap soprano recorder. That brand was the first one that I bought and I got it on Amazon too, along with some books for it. So learning the recorder as well as buying a recorder is very cheap and sheet music is also very easy to find as well.

So, a soprano recorder is not a toy. It is areal instrument and some people actually play it very well. You can go on YouTube and find videos of some people who are amazing on the instrument. I don't know about you but when I see someone play an instrument well, I get inspired. So look it up and see what you think.


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