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Message from OCRS President Win Aldrich

In the face of global pandemic, what is a recorder player to do?

As I write this, my upcoming travel plans are draining away- one workshop after another is cancelling or postponing. COVID-19 is hitting the recorder world hard. So many of our activities depend on gathering together, so when we can’t, we face significant disruption.

Seeing as how so many of us may soon be hunkered at home trying to wait out the contagion, I’ve been giving some thought to how we can continue to grow musically during such an isolated and difficult time!

Here are five ideas:

Chain Your Practice

One of the few things we may soon have a wealth of is time. And how better to spend that time than making your practice habitual? Jerry Seinfeld’s “don’t break the chain” method for creative output is focused not on results, but on consistency- you get yourself a blank calendar and X out the first day you practice. Then you do it again the next day. The idea is to keep X-ing, without breaking the chain. Again, the emphasis isn’t on duration of practice- it’s on the everydayness. If you can make practice a part of your everyday, it will pay amazing dividends down the line.

Embrace solitude!

Turn isolation into a plus by tackling some of the wonderful music that’s out there for unaccompanied recorder. The postal system still works, so try motivating yourself by purchasing a quality edition of one of the following…or any other solo music that fits the bill.

  • Telemann: 12 Fantasias for Solo flute (recorder version)
  • Van Eyck: Der Fluyten Lusthof
  • Bassasno: Ricercate

Record and Replay

Recording yourself can be uncomfortable at first, but it pays off. You’ll be able to analyze your own playing much more keenly and deeply than you can in real time, and that can only help you grow. You can also fake a duet partner by recording yourself playing one part, and then playing the other part as you play the recording back. Pro tip: If you do this, DEFINITELY use a metronome as you record. Because you won’t have two parties able to respond to rhythmic fluctuations in real time, at least one part must be rock solid.

Go Online

Facetime, Skype, Zoom, and other platforms help us connect with one another across vast distances. Although the time lag makes it impossible to play simultaneously with another person online, you are able to listen to one another play and talk back and forth with ease. Now is a great time to take some online recorder lessons, or simply call up a friend and take turns playing for one another. No mask required.


You may not be able to meet up with your fellow recorder players at the moment, but you can start thinking about what you’ll want to play when you can. Explore new music online, either via hunting for scores or listening to recordings. When the pandemic passes, you’ll be ready.


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A chapter of the American Recorder Society, Orange County, California