8. Breaking-in & Practice

Take good care of your new instrument, which begins with breaking it in - wood is a living material and must be looked after properly. To start with, it’s important that you play it every day - in week 1, for no more than 10 minutes a day; week 2, for no more than 20 minutes a day; week 3, for no more than 30 minutes a day etc, until it’s capable of handling regular playing. Little and often to start with is the key, and should minimise potential problems later on. It’s particularly important to play regularly in the early stages to get the wood accustomed to humidity and warmth, and also to help the instrument’s sound develop, which will gradually change and ‘open up’ over time.

Always warm up properly – this benefits the player as much as the instrument, and is essential in colder temperatures and with denser woods. Start with the lower register, tackling higher notes as the instrument gets warmer. After playing, be sure to take the recorder apart and wipe away any moisture inside with a special mop or cleaning rod and cloth (cotton or linen is best to avoid depositing fibres inside the instrument). Leave the recorder out overnight to dry thoroughly – resting it in an open case works well. Never leave recorders in extreme conditions such as very cold areas, on a radiator, or in direct sunlight, and keep them away from chemicals.

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