How to read recorder music notes

Written by carl hose
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How to read recorder music notes
Practice reading recorder music to learn the instrument quickly. (Recorder image by Ellanorah from

Learning how to play a recorder is fairly easy. If you know how a recorder works, how to get sounds from it and how to read recorder fingering charts to identify the notes you need to play, you will be well on your way to creating music with the instrument.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Recorder
  • Recorder fingering chart
  • Recorder sheet music

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  1. 1

    Blow into the mouthpiece to let the air produce a tone. There are eight fingering holes on a recorder. The unique combination of covered and uncovered holes produces specific notes. Study a recorder fingering chart to familiarise yourself with the notes each finger combination produces.

  2. 2

    Memorise the fingering combinations in order to familiarise yourself with the notes that your recorder can play. A recorder fingering chart is a graphic representation of a recorder. The chart uses dark and light circles to show whether to cover or uncover the holes on your recorder to produce specific notes. Purchase a fingering chart in most sheet music stores or find one online.

  3. 3

    Read simple sheet music to get started. Musical notation for the recorder is the same as it is for any instrument. Music notes are written on a set of horizontal lines and spaces called a music staff (stave). It's the placement of the note on those lines or spaces that tells you what note to play and how long to play it. The combination of note placement on the staff and the type of note it is dictates melody and rhythm.

  4. 4

    Remember that the notes on the treble clef use the letters FACE for the spaces and the phrase, "Every Good Boy Does Fine" for the lines. The notes above the top line repeat in alphabetical order forward and the notes below the bottom line repeat in alphabetical order backward. The same letters repeat over and over again.

  5. 5

    Practice playing your recorder daily. By knowing where the notes are on your recorder and where those corresponding notes are on the music staff, with practice you'll be playing recorder like a pro.

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