Why We Were Forced to Play the Recorder

Published by Jan Heaney on

– [Announcer] It’s plastic;
it’s most likely beige; and it sounds like this: (recorder music) Chances are if you grew
up in the United States you’ve played a recorder. It was a non-negotiable part of your elementary school education, and for that, you can
thank this guy, Carl Orff, a passionate German composer. (dramatic classical music) Originally, the recorder was hand-crafted, wooden, and made for
the highest of society. Even Vivaldi and Bach wrote
pieces for the recorder. It doesn’t rely on a reed
or strings, just breath. (recorder playing) It’s in the flute family. In the 1960s, the recorder
started being produced out of plastic — cheap plastic. (recorder playing) So, how did it become the clumsy, awkward sound, we all used to play? (recorders playing) That’s where Orff comes in. He saw the recorder as an easy way to get kids to start playing music. The logic was simple. The recorder relies on rhythm
rather than memorization. If you can sing, you
most likely can play it. (recorders playing) Orff had the best of intentions, to inspire the next
generation of musicians, and even though they can
sometimes be annoying, our hats are off to you, sir, for changing the course of music education for generations to come. (recorders playing)

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