I like to think of myself as quite musical. It may have been a little while since I picked up my violin or sat in front of a piano, but I'm pretty good at coaxing a tune out of the musical toys that we have about the house. Like most people, the first instrument I learned to play at school was the recorder. I think it's really important for children to learn a musical instrument, so when I saw an opportunity to review a themed recorder pack aimed at young children, I thought that it would be a good way to start Harry off on a musical journey of his own.
We had the choice of Pirate or Princess, and so I chose Pirate. The pack contains a blue recorder and drawstring case, some stickers, a Starting to Play book, a CD and a fingering chart. The recorder is a good quality, three piece descant recorder, which is the size that is usually taught in schools.
As I expected, Harry loved it, and was instantly marching about blowing away. He also appeared suitably impressed when I belted out Amazing Graze for him, before performing my repertoire of children's favourites including Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Jingle Bells.
The small book introduces the instrument, with tips on holding the recorder and playing the first notes. It only covers how to play two notes - B and A - so you will need to think about further instruction books or tuition in order to progress further. I think that a child completely new to music and the recorder would probably benefit from some adult help with getting started, preferably from someone that can read music. For a child that is already learning elsewhere though, perhaps at school, it would be easily picked up.
I really liked the CD that was included. The book teaches you to play just the note B in the rhythm of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Old MacDonald Had a Farm, then adds in the note A for both songs. It's not that tuneful of course, but if you play it along with the backing track on the CD it sounds really good (and there is applause at the end to keep you motivated!)
The recorder pack retails for £9.99 and can be purchased here.
Just on a side, unsponsored, note, if you do have a child learning the recorder, we found a great app for the iPad called JoyTunes Recorder Master. It was free on special offer when we downloaded it, although it's now £1.49. It uses the sound of your child blowing the notes to play games, for example making a bird fly higher as you sound a note for longer, and we've found that it helped Harry pick up playing the recorder really quickly.
We received the recorder pack for the purpose of the review.