Learn to play the recorder with these tips

To play the flute it is important to follow a series of steps that will help you. The first is fingering, which refers to the correct way to place your fingers to play each musical note. Second, the placement of the tongue, this is very important for the flute to sound good, in addition, the musician must learn to blow correctly.

Finger placement

Before making a comparison of flutes, it is important to know how to play this type of instrument. In this sense, the first thing you should do when playing a flute is to place your fingers in the corresponding holes. It doesn’t matter if you’re left-handed or right-handed, your left hand should be above your right. In the same order of ideas, we mentioned that you should not exert too much force when covering the holes of the flute.

The little finger of the left hand is used to rest the flute on it, that is, to give the instrument stability while you play. On the other hand, the thumb of that hand is placed on the back of the flute to cover the hole there.

C Major Scale Fingering

To play the C Major scale you need to hold the flute with both hands. The left will cover the first holes and the right the rest of the holes. Start the scale with low C, which you can do when you press all the holes at once.

Take into account that the holes are covered with the tips of the fingers. The second note in the scale is D, which you can play by lifting the little finger of your right hand. Subsequently, there are Mi, Fa, Sol, La and Si, which are achieved by raising the following fingers, that is, one after the other.

In this way, the scale would be complete, using the natural notes mentioned. Also, after playing the B you can repeat C, but one octave higher. This note is not mandatory in the C Major scale, however, it is important to know its fingering. To play it, place your thumb in the back hole and your middle finger in the second front hole.


The recorder does not have special holes to play accidental notes, but it is possible to play them by covering half the holes. If you want to play C sharp, you simply place your finger positions as if it were C natural, with the difference that the little finger of the right hand will cover half of the hole.

Likewise, you can play Fa, D or G sharp, using the typical fingering, but covering half of each hole. Also, it is important to know that flat notes can be played in the same way as sharp notes. In this sense, D flat can be played like C sharp and E flat like D sharp.

In addition to this, we mention that there are two symbols to abbreviate accidentals, which are # in the case of sharps and b when they are flats.

tongue technique

For the flute to sound good, the user must know the technique of the language, since a minimum error makes the sound go wrong and the difference between one tone and another is not noticeable.

The correct way is for the tongue to touch the top of the teeth with the tip, without making any sound. In this way, only the next step, blowing, will be missing.

Blowing the flute correctly

Do it gently and without exerting much force, since this instrument is small compared to others such as the trombone or the trumpet. You just have to blow a little harder when the score calls for a higher volume, for example, at times when forte dynamics appear, which means play harder.

Likewise, it should be noted that the air must be used in a balanced way, as there are notes that have a long duration. Imagine that you are playing a song and on the highest and most important note you run out of air, so you should not exaggerate by expelling the air from your lungs. Of course, this depends on the song you’re playing, but it’s best to pay attention to how much air you’re using.

Common mistakes when playing

Not covering the holes completely could be the most common mistake when playing the recorder, since this causes notes to be played out of tune or whistles in bad taste. It is advisable to do exercises to learn how to press the holes, so that this error does not happen again, especially if you are playing in a concert.

Another mistake can happen when the flute is not cleaned after each use, as this results in the accumulation of dust or saliva in the mouthpiece and holes. In this way, the instrument lowers its resonance and provides pitch distortions.  

On the other hand, some musicians play with the mouthpiece in the wrong position or slightly out of the body of the flute, which alters the overall tuning of the instrument. To avoid this error, we recommend that you check the position of the mouthpiece before practicing exercises or playing songs.

songs for recorder

Starting with songs that use natural notes is a good start, since they don’t have sharps or flats, for example, typical songs like Estrellita where you are or El carrorito leré. Also, the level of the songs you choose largely depends on whether or not you can read sheet music.

However, you will find simple songs on the Internet, which are written without the staff, but are pleasant to the ear, for example, Do, Do, Sol, Sol, La, La, Sol. However, this way you will only know the notes and the rhythm you will have to follow by ear. This means that playing songs without sheet music has a great disadvantage, since they do not inform the flautist of the duration of the notes or the dynamics, for example, forte, piano, staccato or crescendo.

Later, when you have a higher level playing the flute, you will be able to learn songs with sharps and flats such as My heart will go on by Celine Dion, La Bikina by Rubén Fuentes or Hey Jude by The Beatles.

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