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Recorder Methods

The Recorder From Zero, Vol 1
is a the best method for beginners on the soprano recorder which treats the instrument in its proper historical context. This revised and expanded 2nd edition contains 107 pieces of carefully graded original, folk, renaissance, and medieval music as well as an introduction to renaissance tonguing and a brief introduction to modal theory. Although RFZ is intended to be used with a teacher, who guides the student and plays the bottom part of the duets, the mature student who has had some previous musical training can also use this method for self-study. Take a look at Lessons 1-10, which you can print out for free and and try with your student/s  (if you are a teacher) or with your teacher (if you are a student) or with your partner if you are an experienced player already - it’s all great music!

From reviews of the 2nd edition, vol. 1 (2001):

Information for both the teacher and pupil is commendable and up-to-date. The fingerings include those which might be necessary alternatives on renaissance recorders. The Recorder From Zero strikes me as a well-conceived concept and a thorough introduction to playing the soprano recorder.

                                                                        Adam Dopadlik in The Recorder Magazine, Spring 2002

The Recorder From Zero was welcomed by the recorder-teacher community in 1975 as a method using Medieval and Renaissance Music. I called this method a
must buy’ at the time. I am very much pleased to discover that Charles Fischer has put out a second edition, completely re-set in Finale. Improvements in this edition include a much more readable and expanded musical content. I like Mr. Fischer's emphasis on wide-bore recorders (now beginning to be affordable by amateurs). This book is for its musical content alone of great value to recorder teachers and beginning players.
                                     

                                                             Martha Bixler in The American Recorder,  May 2002
 

Best method books I own, October 19, 2003 - Reviewer: "b__2" (Albuquerque, NM USA)
I bought both volumes of this book for my daughter then 8 based on recommendations (...). I was intrigued by the idea of starting her with "real" music from the get-go. The books were a great success - it was a pleasure to work through the lessons with her and now she eagerly plays everything she can in both books.  The books themselves are beautifully printed and easy to read. They are mostly just the music with little or no text interspersed among the pieces. This means that a beginner will need some additional help with some of the basics - holding the recorder, breathing, basic fingering, etc. There are plenty of method books that cover those details, but no other books I know of give you so much interesting music.

It's easy for beginners to get the feel for what early music and recorder playing is really like.  I strongly recommend these books. If you are an adult beginner with access to a teacher then I suggest you look for volume 1 for the alto recorder, if and when it is available. Altos are easier and more fun to play than soprano recorders if your hands are bigger than an 11-year old's.

Best Recorder Instruction, October 14, 2003 - Reviewer:
Drina Brooke (CA)
Inspiration is a great motivator, to practice and to really play well. Charles Fischer, himself a performer of the recorder, has compiled such a beautiful selection of Medieval and Renaissance pieces,in characteristically eerie modes, that even beginners may be excited by truly beautiful music. This book is organized in step-by-step progression, from simple drills which very quickly graduate to really nice music, using simple finger combinations to more progressive, adding rhythm drills and theoretical instruction. Fischer has mastered the art of instructing with beauty, and artfully combined this with pure common sense. To combine artistic instruction with pedagogy is a challenge, indeed, and Fischer has done a beautiful job. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Early Music. --Drina Brooke, recorder instructor/performer, author, trained with internationally-acclaimed Eva Legene

Can't say enough good things!, July 11, 2002 - Reviewer:
Brent (Manitoba, Canada)
I've been using the revised edition of Volume 1 for almost a year now in my private teaching and in a University setting. Most spectacularly, I used it as an 'introduction to the recorder' for a music education class earlier this year.  One of the commonest complaints I hear from music education students is that they don't know where to turn to find good repertoire when they want to introduce recorders into their classrooms. Students have been singing Hot Cross Buns since Grade 1, and are easily bored with it by the time they're in Grade 4! With Fischer's book, teachers can use authentic recorder material that follows the same sequence of notes as the earliest songs use, and a large class can be divided up to include percussion and movement.

At the moment I'm introducing it to students in a Kodaly Level 1 summer course, and the students are having a blast. After 30 minutes this afternoon, four very insecure recorder players were performing 6 Renaissance dances comfortably and musically.  Volume 1 is a must-have for any music teacher who deals with recorders, and I can't wait for Volume 2.

The Recorder From Zero, Vol 2 is a systematic approach for intermediate players on the soprano recorder which takes up where volume 1 leaves off. This revised and expanded 2nd edition contains 113 pieces of original, folk, renaissance, and medieval music as well as continuing the introduction to renaissance tonguing and the modes. Volume two covers additional fingerings, playing without bar lines and using more advanced rhythms - including  a dozen exercises for various forms of syncopation, modal cadences , hemiolas,  and tuning using difference tones. Take a look at lessons 21-26, which you can print out for free and try with your student/s  (if you are a teacher) or with your teacher (if you are a student) or with your partner if you are an experienced player already - it’s all great music!

From reviews of the 2nd edition, vol. 2 (2002):

Volume II is pricier than Volume I, but there is more music in it.. The remarkable aspect of this book is its use of original, Medieval and Renaissance music... I am pleased to see that Mr. Fischer has put the ear-training exercises at the beginning of this volume... There are many pedagogical aids, such as an explanation of "shifting syncopations," often confused with hemiola. The explanation of hemiola is excellent... I like the tuning exercises and explanation and practice of modal cadences. I like the attention to Renaissance recorders and modes. I like beginning to play without bar lines in Lesson 26. In fact, I like just about everything about this book...Everyone who plays the soprano recorder, teachers and students, should own both volumes of "The Recorder From Zero". I look forward to the edition for alto.

                                                             Martha Bixler in The American Recorder,  January, 2003

Just as good as Vol 1., November 9, 2003 - Reviewer: "b__2" (Albuquerque, NM USA)
I have both books - my daughter is the student. The wealth of excellent exercises and non-boring duet material made volume 2 a no-brainer for us. As as said in my volume 1 review: these are the best method books I own!

Inspirational Tutelage, October 19, 2003 - Reviewer:
Drina Brooke (San Raphael, CA USA)
As in volume 1, Charles Fischer has compiled beautiful music selected not only for inspirational content, but for step-by-step challenges designed for technical growth. This is one of those books which will inspire as the player learns! As important eartraining for players of Early Music, Greek modes (ancient "scales" passed down via the Medieval church) are introduced, and how to construct them intervallically. Ensuing pieces are identified by mode, to further assist eartraining. Unmeasured duets provide the framework for each player to practice rhythmic independence, and to really feel the flow of phrases. Other duets are measured, and all of them artistically deep. Literature varies from haunting Troubadour melodies to Renaissance Christmas carols (selections that are refreshingly new to America, while known in Germany and other parts of Europe; arranged by Charles Fischer for two recorders), to the plaintively beautiful rounds of Henry Purcell, to the snakily percussive Tourdion and Rotta, to many other wonderful pieces! A wide selection of solos and duets gives opportunity a-plenty for solo or ensemble playing. Only a performer of the recorder, such as Charles Fischer, could come up with this unique and gorgeous selection of music ! --Drina Brooke, author, recorder instructor/performer

Recorder From Zero is Great Fun, June 26, 2002 - Reviewer:
"jblazar" (Sunnyvale, CA USA)
The author has over ten years experience teaching recorder to students of all ages. I read through all the exercises in this book with another player. The upper line is meant to be played by the student, with the lower line played by the teacher or a more advanced player. The book consists of graded units of increasing difficulty. The exercises use actual Medieval and Renaissance music, as well as English country dances and folk music, with a few original pieces written by Mr. Fischer.  So often, exercises used in method books are repetitive and boring, making them a chore to work through. The music chosen in this book is quite appealing, with a lot of variety. I think this method book would work well for players of all ages, since the music is fun to play, and is carefully chosen to demonstrate a particular point, such as modes, rhythms, syncopation, combination tones, etc.  Mr. Fischer is to be commended for producing a refreshing method book, with an easily readable format and a well-chosen variety of music that demonstrates valuable lessons for the student.

Alto Recorder From Zero is a systematic approach for beginners and intermediates on the alto recorder which treats the instrument in its proper historical context.  This edition contains 120 pieces of carefully graded original, folk, renaissance, and medieval music as well as an introduction to renaissance tonguing and a brief introduction to modal theory. Although AFZ is intended to be used with a teacher, who guides the student and plays the bottom part of the duets, the mature student who has had some previous musical training can also use this method for self-study.

NOTE: Lessons 1-10 for Alto Recorder are now available online.  You can print them out for free and try them with your student/s  (if you are a teacher) or with your teacher (if you are a student) or with your partner if you are an experienced player already - it’s all great music. The remaining 20 lessons are now ready for online ordering as Part II for lower intermediates (Lessons 11-22) and Part III for intermediates (Lessons 23-30). 

Alto Recorder From Zero is Truly Impressive,  March 17, 2005 - Personal communication from Jim Carpenter
I should take a moment to tell you what a pleasure it is to work with the lessons. I'm on lesson 6 or 7 downloaded from the Internet, and I am truly impressed at how musical the selections are. As I work my way thru each one I can sense immediately what the pieces ought to sound like, and the very measured pace at which new notes are added is wonderful. When I start a new piece I find I can play 90 percent immediately--it's only the other 10 percent that needs to be worked on.  By the time I've satisfactorily "mastered" the new piece I can move to the next one, finding that I can play 90 percent of it....etc.  I'm working without a teacher, but with other beginning recorder methods to help me with fingerings, etc...Any reasonably self-motivated learner can make wonderful use of the lessons. Thank you for this excellent course.
 

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PURCHASING INFORMATION:  Please mail a check payable to Unicorn Music to:

Unicorn Music
2324 Linden Hill Rd.
Bloomington, IN 47401

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The Recorder From Zero, Vol. 1 (2nd edition, 2001 - 27 pp.)  $17.95 plus $1.00 shipping in US

  The Recorder From Zero, Vol. 2 (2nd edition, 2002 - 40 pp.)  $23.95 plus $2.00 shipping in US

OR GET BOTH for a special combined price:

The Recorder From Zero, Vols 1 and 2  $40.00 with FREE shipping in US

NEW!!!! Electronic Version of RFZ (sent as .pdf files by email so no shipping charges!!)

Recorder From Zero, Vol. 1 lessons 11-20 (lower intermediate)  $14.95
Recorder From Zero, Vol. 2 lessons 27-33 (intermediate) $11.95
       Recorder From Zero, Vol. 2 lessons 34-40 (upper intermediate) $11.95

                       

Alto Method (sent as .pdf files by email so that shipping is free anywhere in the world!)

Alto Recorder From Zero, lessons 11-23 (lower intermediate)  $14.95

Alto Recorder From Zero, lessons 23-30  (intermediate) $14.95

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