Which \\\"easy\\\" (treble) music book?

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    Katia J

    (I keep having errors when trying to post this, so my apologies if it ultimately shows up more than once.)

    I’m working my way through my beginner method books (Enjoy Your Recorder by the Trapp Family, and I also currently have the Recorder Guide by Kulbach and Nitka from the library)– I have the Alan Davis Treble Recorder Technique and the Rooda 95 Dexterity Exercises on order to work on next– and was wondering which book of “easy” recorder pieces you would recommend. I’m still very much at beginner level (beginner at recorder, not beginner at music), and there are three books I’ve read about, and am wondering which would be best to get if anyone here has experience with/opinions about them (all three are probably not in the budget, so I need to pick one).

    I don’t know what the music in these looks like; I assume it would be accessible to me, though I don’t know if it would be appropriate enough to play for other people (mostly in church). I am mostly interested in baroque, etc. music on recorder, so the folk songs and such in my method books are wearing thin (I play pennywhistle for folk music so playing it on recorder feels redundant) and if I can find even simplified versions of the music I’d like to ultimately learn, that would be great. Thanks!

    The books in question:
    First/Second Book of Treble Recorder Solos (both ed. W. Bergmann) (Can’t tell from my reading but the first one might be lower-level than I want to start with?)

    Baroque Recorder Anthology 3 (ed. Bowman & Heyens)

    Recorder Music for Beginners, Vol. 2 (ed. Malina & Bloch)

    Ken In Dallas

    Hi Katia, I’m thinking ‘pandemically’ that we’ll need to find some future ‘work-arounds’ to wisely select our music. Not that too many local sheet-music stores ever had huge recorder sections. I can only speak to one of the books you asked-about. “Baroque Recorder Anthology 3” (ed. Bowman & Heyens) is one from that series that I play from. The music selections are from the less ‘big-box-office’ composers yet of high quality. I love the selections. You’ll find that it’s published by Schott in Germany, who offers a very friendly PDF preview of the book on their website.


    The book comes with a CD of mp3 files – two for each musical piece. One is the piece played on expertly on recorder with harpsichord accompaniment and the other is just the harpsichord. A=440. While some book series may offer slow and fast cuts of accompaniment, both here are at full performance speed. To accommodate my tired old hands and eyes, I downloaded the Open Source “VLC Media Player” which permits playing the accompaniment at a number of lower speeds while staying at the same pitch, and of course it has a repeat setting as well.

    Please note that the series has four books for the Renaissance and four Baroque. Requesting them mail order can be tricky as for each musical period only Book ‘3’ and Book ‘4’ are for Alto. Books 1 and 2 are Soprano books with totally different pieces of music. As an Alto player then, there are four anthology books in this series for your (our) instrument.

    I should add that the long established recorder shops that are on line have sheet-music comments and suggestions that I often find very helpful. You might check the comments given on the websites of Courtly Music Unlimited and Antique Sound Workshop. (The owners are recorder players)

    Amazon has to be ‘worked’ to get a sense of their sheet-music marketplace. Writing “best selling alto recorder sheet music” in their search engine got me (supposedly) their top 450 Alto sheet-music books (I think) in sales order. You must keep an eye on the other list filters. I think “Featured” means the books they are perhaps pushing. There is an occasional flag of “Best Seller.” I watch for how many highly ‘stared’ reviews have been posted for a work and make sure I read the comments posted in the ‘worst’ reviews as well the best, remembering that I have to judge the musicianship of the reviewer carefully. Also keep an eye on Amazon’s cover picture of a book you’re considering. Amazon sometimes has a “Look Inside” button there that may then show the Table of Contents and – with luck – some music pages by which to judge somewhat the difficulty of a book.

    Posting your inquiry here was a very good start. I’m afraid we’re all going to be doing a bit of detective work to find good musical pathways during the isolation of this pandemic. Best of luck on your search; best of luck in your music! – k –

    Katia J

    Thank you, Ken, for the detailed review! It was really helpful. That was good to know about the Anthology. It sounds like it would work well for me. I’m definitely interested in the more “obscure” stuff.

    Yes, the ASWLTD site has such great detailed descriptions of all the materials; it’s how I’ve decided on all of the books I’ve ordered/want to order in future (and found these three). It can be difficult to navigate the music when you can’t flip through books to see what the music is like and don’t know anyone to ask. If I was at an advanced level the sky would be the limit, of course, but I can’t exactly listen to/look at every piece ever written for recorder to gauge whether it would work for me at my level, lol.

    I have been and will definitely be ordering from the recorder suppliers (except the Davis book, because I bought it used from Amazon)– it just makes the most sense for so many reasons. So, I definitely trust there won’t be confusion over what I’m ordering, luckily. I’m expecting the Rooda from Courtly Music any day now. Getting close to the end of my two method books, though one thing I like about Enjoy Your Recorder is that it does provide some more challenging stuff at the end, excerpts from Telemann and Handel sonatas, etc. (And I’m actually liking that the Recorder Guide has both soprano and alto, because I can play the soprano parts up an octave on alto, which is good practice too. Eventually I should probably also work soprano back in, but I’m trying not to, at this point, confuse the issue of the different fingerings.)

    Between those and Peter Billam’s Daily Recorder Exercises scales and arpeggios, and then some of the pieces I’m playing around with or plan to play around with in future (the Largo from Winter of the Four Seasons, the Moderato movement of Telemann’s Fantasia 10, the second movement of the Marcello, and I’ll try the Adagio movement of Bach’s oboe concerto in d minor {haven’t decided whether to do it on soprano or transpose for alto} and I might try to convince my fellow-violinist friend to do the Adagio movement of the BWV1060R as well), I’m keeping pretty busy, luckily.


    Hmm I think that book (Baroque Recorder Anthology 3 (ed. Bowman & Heyens)) is one of the books that Sarah Jeffery recommends in one of her youtube videos (team recorder on youtube)
    I quite fancy it myself.

    You don't stop playing when you get old. You get old when you stop playing.

    Katia J

    Perhaps that one is the way to go, then!

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