Wooden recorders must adapt to the moisture and warmth from breathing, because they absorb moisture easily, especially in the windway, the window and the labium. If too much moisture is absorbed, the wood swells and becomes warped. A new instrument must not become too moist. That is why initially, it should only be played for a short time each day.
Playing in a new recorder
The time limits as stated below are just a guideline. It is advisable to listen carefully to the sound of your recorder when it is being played in and to stop playing if the sound changes, even if the time limit has not run out. Your recorder must be allowed to dry out completely. Wipe it out carefully with a cloth and leave it to dry. Never use a hairdryer or anything similar to hurry the drying out process, this would lead to cracks in the wood. Direct sunlight or a constant cold draught are other factors which can also produce cracks in a damp recorder.
Never play your instrument before it has dried out completely. We recommend playing your instrument for just a very short time several times a day.
Your recorder must not only adapt to warmth and moisture but also to the varying pressure when being played. Do not immediately try the highest notes, it is advisable to start in the lower register, extending your range, little by little, with long notes and slow runs.
This is not as complicated as it sounds and you will soon get the feel of your recorder. You will notice that your recorder adapts to you. You can forge a relationship which can last a lifetime.
Children can play in their recorders themselves. They will often need support from their teacher but it helps them develop an attachment to their instrument if they look after it themselves from the beginning. Children who are encouraged in this way will learn about their instruments and themselves.
Even children with excessive saliva production can play in their own instruments under the guidance of their teacher. If the recorder becomes too damp, then borrowing an instrument from the teacher or using a plastic head can be helpful and ensure continuity of lessons and practising.
If your recorder sounds "hoarse" too often or its tone changes for the worse, we advise you to return it to the maker. Sometimes the proportions in the area of the windway change after a while; an experienced instrument maker can easily remedy this. Very often, players tolerate imperfections for far too long, which is quite unnecessary with recorders made today.
Plastic instruments or recorders with a plastic head joint require no playing in. Wooden recorders, however must adapt to the moisture an warmth from breathing.
In the first six weeks, you should not play for longer than:
- ca. 5 minutes a day in the 1st week
- ca. 10 minutes a day in the 2nd week
- ca. 15 minutes a day in the 3rd week
- ca. 30 minutes a day in the 4th week
The instrument should be played daily, yet take care not to play the highest notes right in the beginning. We advise to start in the low register and to increase the compass slowly but surely. The best way of becoming closely acquainted with your instrument and its sound qualities is to play long notes and slow passages.