tenor first notes

2 First Tenor Notes

Now we start learning notes. Note fingering, that is, which fingers cover which holes, will take many lessons to explain. We begin with the easiest notes.

First we look at which fingers are used. Not all of them. The left hand little finger is left out altogether, the right hand thumb just supports the recorder. We use a code to indicate fingers, as follows:

Left hand: Thumb is LTh, Index finger is L1, Middle finger L2, Ring finger L3, Little finger (not used) L4

Right hand: Thumb is RTh, Index is R1, Middle finger R2, Ring finger R3, Little finger R4

Now for our first note. Place your left thumb (LTh) over the single hole on the recorder bottom, the left index finger (L1) on the first hole on the top. Support the recorder with your right thumb (RTh). As below.


Now let the recorder hang vertically, held by the two left hand fingers covering the holes as before. Tap the bottom of the recorder with your right hand, so that it swings back and forth. You will feel the balls of your finger and thumb dig into the holes as they support the instrument. These parts of the fingers are the ones which cover the holes. Remember this feeling. Later on, when new notes sound wrong, it will probably be because your fingers are not covering the holes properly. Try to get it correct from the start.

Now hold the recorder as before, supported by your right thumb. Blow a steady stream of air into your instrument, as you did in the last lesson. It should sound like this.

Keep practising until your note sounds like the one in the audio player. If the notes are completely different, then you're either covering the wrong holes, or more likely, not completely covering the two holes. Feel each finger, there should be a comfortable pressure over each hole. There is no need to squeeze hard.

Once the note is sounding, then, like the previous lesson, use your tongue to split the air stream, to play two notes. Like this

Each note has a name, being a letter from A to G. The note just played is a B. Capital letters are used to indicate notes.

Now for our next note. Keep the two fingers from the previous note, then place the next left hand finger (L2) over the next hole. Like this


This new note is a A, the fingering is LTh, L1, and L2. It sounds like this

Try it. If your note sounds very different to the player, then once again your fingers are probably not covering the holes. Focus on each finger in turn, ensure the pad is over the hole. Keep trying until the note sounds right. When it does, use your tongue as before to make two notes. Like this.

Once the B and the A are sounding, we are ready for our first piece. Listen to the track with recorder a few times. There are two A's, then two B's and an A to finish. Two beats lead the track in. Listen a few times, then play along

Any luck? Hopefully yes. The only finger movement here is L2, moving up and down the change notes while LTh and L1 remain in place. A key skill for recorder (and most other instruments) is to move one finger only, while others remain still.

For new players, combining fingers and rhythm is hard at first. Listen to the recorder and guitar, try to match your instrument to it. When you have it right, then try the same piece with the backing only.

New players may find this hard. Others may move quickly through these early stages, however challenges await in future lessons. Success with music comes from persisting with difficulties until they are overcome, however long it takes.

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