The recorder is one of the easiest instruments to get into, and a lot of the time it’s the instrument that is used by school students to take their first steps into learning about music. It’s a somewhat cheap instrument and easy to carry around, so it’s a perfect option for beginners that need to practice and go from one place to another.
However, does this instrument offer a good variety of songs to learn beyond offering good foundations of music to beginners? Well, there are quite a few, and if you were curious about learning some of them without having too many problems, then this article will be perfect for you, as you will hear some of the easiest songs on the recorder that will make you or your young student feel like there is actually some progress being made, making the learning process a lot more fun!
This is a universal song that is constantly being sung and played every day because there is always a birthday to be celebrated, which makes it one of the most popular songs in history, but there is another great thing about this song, it’s very simple!
What does this mean for the recorder? well, it makes the simple progressions translate very well to this instrument.
There are 6 notes in this song, so it’s a great way to practice by using almost everything available on the scale.
This is a song that is used a lot to help singers make their first steps into music, however, it can also work very well on a recorder.
This is a song that only uses 3 or 4 notes but it also tests your skills with a bit more complex than “Happy Birthday”. The song is longer and it’s the perfect song to get to the next level as a beginner.
If you are near the holidays, this song is perfect to get that Christmas spirit up and running. This popular Christmas carol is very easy and slows so it’s great for people that are just starting to get a feel for the instrument. The beginning has the player repeat the same note 6 times, which makes for an easy intro and helps train rhythm.
We Wish You A Merry Christmas
There is another very famous Christmas carol, maybe you know this one, it’s called “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”, ring a bell? This is another very well-known song that is also quite easy, it’s just a bit faster and there is a bit more dynamism when it comes to the notes involved, but it still remains an easy one.
Hot Cross Buns
Eliphalet Oram Lyte’s piece is a great beginner song. Originally it was an English street cry but later turned into a nursery rhyme, probably because of its simple but catchy rhythm and simple melody. It’s only eight bars of music and it’s quite slow.
There are other versions out there but the most common only has three notes, so it’s definitely a great place to start.
Ode to Joy
Ludwig Van Beethoven is one of the most popular, respected, and talented musicians in history, so it’s great that at least one of his compositions translates perfectly to the recorder.
Even if you don’t recognize it by name, this melody will sound familiar just a few seconds in, making its way into every form of media and platform possible with its feeling of celebration and optimism.
The pattern of this melody is quite simple and there is no doubt that a beginner can easily learn it with enough practice.
This is a popular nursery rhyme that is definitely an easy one. This song is just three notes A, E, and G, and the best part of it all is that the rhythm is the same from beginning to end, so you can use this one as an exercise!
Another popular nursery rhyme is “Yankee Doodle”, which also has a very rich and long history but thankfully for beginners on the recorder, there is no need to worry about lyrics or other background details.
The recorder version is obviously just focused on the main melody, which is made mostly from quarter notes.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Once the standard notes are under control you may want to take things to the next level. This song will help with that, as it will be on a higher pitch and feature less common notes than a beginner might be used to.
Let’s be honest, there are a lot of Christmas carols that work perfectly as training songs for beginners. This is also a great straightforward song with a simple melody, the only big challenge here would be to be able to hold the notes for a longer period, which is great for training your breathing, a very important part of playing the recorder properly.
Mary Had a Little Lamb
This is one of those songs that is known all over the world and is one of the best songs to start playing any instrument. It’s slow, it has only 4 notes and it’s very nice on the ear so what more is there to ask of an easy song to practice?
This is one of the few songs that are actually quite recent, it came out in 2016 and almost everyone that had a baby in recent years knows this song. It was a hit at the time and it will feel great to play!
If you want another easy consistent rhythm, this song has it. It also has a very catchy melody so it can be great for short practice.
Keep in mind it’s a lullaby, so it’s quite slow!
Thomas d’Urfey made this song, and it was a song that inspired later versions used to teach kids about the sounds animals make.
This is a very fun one and it’s great for very young children, however, it can be a bit more difficult to play on the recorder than others on this list.
Can-Can (“Galop Infernal”)
Originally it was just “Galop Infernal” but eventually it started to gather more popularity as “Can-Can”. It was made by Jacques Offenbach in 1858 and it was about Orpheus in the Underworld.
Yes, it’s quite a story but, it’s also easy and it can be great to learn how to change the tempo mid-song from slow to fast.
Is it Easy to Learn How to Play a Recorder?
Yes, it’s easy, mostly due to the fact that this instrument has fewer notes than other instruments such as a piano or a guitar, so it’s easier to remember how to play each one as opposed to something like a violin, which is very hard since playing in tune is part of the technique.
That is why a lot of music teachers use this instrument to help kids understand the basics of music reading and getting in touch with their musical ear.
What Makes a Song Easy to Learn on a Recorder?
Playing on a recorder is easy, we now know that but what makes a son easy on a recorder? Well let’s go over some of the main things that should make you have an easier time with a song, that way if you want to look for a song outside of this list, you’ll have an idea of the difficulty level you’re up against.
While you can practice a fast song slowly, it wouldn’t be the ideal result once you try to get it to the normal speed, especially if it’s a little difficult. The best way to approach new songs is to go for something that was actually intended to be slow, this will help you learn and understand what you have to do a lot better and you will feel the satisfaction of playing it because it is indeed a slow song.
That will be great for accuracy and practicing the fingering techniques.
This is the most difficult part for many beginners with any instrument, and it can even be an issue for people that have been playing an instrument for years, this is because you can get the note to play without any issues, but when you have a song that presents a difficult rhythm and order of those notes, then it becomes difficult to handle.
That is why the best thing to do is to choose a song with a simple rhythm or a song that lets you focus on the rhythm and has fewer notes.
If you start to play with songs that have a lot of sections and long progressions, then you will have a tough time, so it’s best to try out songs that repeat the same phrase to help you get a hold of the instrument.
Practicing with music that you know is a great idea, because not only will you enjoy the process a lot more, but you will also be able to get a better understanding of how to play each note because you already know the song.
This familiarity is great because you’ll have the song in your head and will get better at it by analyzing what makes the song good and trying to mimic that feeling.
Tips For Practicing With the Recorder as a Beginner
If you want to get better at playing the recorder, then there are a few things you need to focus on aside from just practicing, because if you practice a lot but make the same mistake over and over again, you will turn a mistake into a bad habit.
Remember the three positions while playing the recorder, resting, playing, and ready position. The proper ready position is when you put the recorder mouthpiece resting on the chin.
How to Cover the Holes
You should always cover the entire hole to play the note properly.
You need to control your breathing to be able to make complete phrases, so remember not to blow all the air as you possibly can, manage the air in your lungs.
Keep your shoulders and cheeks still and a straight posture.
Record the songs you or your child are practicing, listening to mistakes can be incredibly helpful.
There are a lot of pros when it comes to learning how to play the recorder, one of them is to have a first approach to a musical instrument in a way that is simple, cheap, and easy to learn. Another great thing about it is that it’s not that hard to sound good when compared to other instruments where you need to dedicate years to finally be able to be decent at it.
This will give you the confidence to keep getting better and even try out other instruments, maybe brass, or strings, or even learn how to sing.
If you are a beginner yourself or you want a small loved one to learn how to play the recorder, these songs will surely make for amazing practice, making everything more fun and effective in the long run!