I used to be a half decent amateur musician, playing clarinet, saxophone, bassoon and the recorder, before the Parkinson’s struck. Rarely a soloist, happy enough to be in the chorus or playing the bass or harmony parts in woodwind ensembles. I really enjoyed being an honorary member of the music department in the schools where I taught. More of this later (I intend to use it as filler if I can’t think of anything topical).

For most people their experience of the recorder is limited to hearing a few shrill, squeaking descant recorders in the hands of children who will either (a) move onto a ‘proper instrument’ soon or (b) never touch a musical instrument again.

The recorder is a proper instrument, with a long and interesting history and played properly can sound quite wonderful.

Here is some J S Bach from the Baroque era and here is a 20th century composition by Gordon Jacob

So what is my experiment? When I first realised that the Parkinson’s meant I couldn’t coordinate fingers, tongue and breathing as well as I could once I stopped playing – the joy had gone. Now I have decided to give it another go. The breath control needed will be useful and practicing the fingering will be good for me; at least I hope it will. I shall provide regular updates.

Plus it’s a excuse for me to arrange the Dr Who soundtrack music by Murray Gold.


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