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The Recorder From Zero, Vol 1
is a systematic approach 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.


Recorder From Zero, Vol. 1

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

LessonPiece # TitleComposerYear New NotesPedagogy
1 1, 2ExerciseCPF 2001b, awhole, half, 4/4 time, tonguing
  3, 4"" "g"
 5, 6" ""  quarter notes
2 7"""  b to g in wholes
 8" "" b to g in halves
  10 - 12"" " b to g in quarters
3 13 - 16"" "d, cstepwise
 17, 18" ""  intervals in halves
4 19, 20"" " intervals in quarters
 21, 22" ""  eighth notes
  23, 24"" " stepwise in eighths
5 25BransleCaroubel 16th c. repeat signs
 26Bransle Gervaise1551   
  27BransleGervaise 1551  
 28Bransle Praetorius1612   
  29BransleModerne 1550  
 30Bransle Gervaise1551  dotted quarter and eighth note
6 31, 32ExerciseCPF 1975 compound 3/4
 33French DanceAnon.13th c.  round
 34Oats, Peas, Beans, and BarleyAmerican 18th c.  
 35Fais Do DoFrench18th c.  D.C. al Fine
 36Exercise for SlursCPF1975  slurs
 37Stantipe English13th c.   
7 38BransleGervaise 16th c.low f# 
 39Gilotte Praetorius1612  1st and 2nd endings
  40BransleGervaise 1551  
8 41Half HannikinPlayford 1650 compound duple 6/8
 42Picking of SticksPlayford1650  pickup note
 43Bransle CourantGervaise1551  compound duple 6/4
 44 SaltarelloPhalese1583   
9 45Bransle de Champaigne Gervaise1550  cut time
  46Bransle de Champaigne Gervaise1555   
  47Bransle DoubleCPF 2001 (written out divisions)
10 48Lament from the Bennada Glens Irish18th c.   
  49Bransle de Champaigne Gervaise1550low e  
  50Almande LoraynePhalese 1571 low f# to e fingering
 51Stantipe English13th c.  a to low f# fingering
11 52UngarescaPhalese 1583low d 
 53Bransle de PoictuGervaise1550   
  54Bransle de Champaigne Gervaise1550   
  55BranslePraetorius 1612 dotted quarter and two sixteenth notes in cut time
 56Stantipe English13th c.   
12 57There Was a Pretty Lass Irish18th c.   
  58Canecutter’s LamentSouth Australian18th c.   
  59Canecutter’s LamentNorth Australian18th c.   
  60Spanish LadiesSea Chanty 18th c.  
 61Bransle Gervaise1550   
  62Exercise for low notes CPF1975   
  63GreenwoodPlayford 1651  
1364Round for 2Anon.17th c.  low c
 65Christmas is ComingAnon.17th c.   
  66Round for 2, 3, or 4 Anon.17th c.   
  67If All the World Were Paper Playford1651   
  68Winder Wie ist nu dein Kraft Neidhart von Reuentalc. 1225   
  69Maienzeidt" c. 1225  
 70Stantipe English13th c.   
  71StantipeEnglish 13th c.  
 72Stantipe English13th c.   
14 73Herr Wirt uns Durstet Sehre Oswald von Wolkenstein1410  Ionian, Dorian modes playing without barlines
 74Da CastitatisAnon.c. 1260   
1575English DanceAnon.13th c.  Transposed Ionian mode
 76Goddesses English Folk Song17th c.  Dorian mode
  77Scarborough FairEnglish Folk Song17th c.  Dorian mode
  78Sinc An Gulden Huon Neidhart von Reunthalc. 1225  Dorian mode
 79Da Que Deus MamouAlphonso X El Sabio c. 1250 Dorian mode
 80A Reynna ""  Dorian mode
  81Como Poden" " two 16th notes in 6/8
1682O Virgo SplendensSpanish Roundc. 1320  
 83A Senor QueAlphonso X El Sabioc. 1250 Dorian mode
 84Exercise CPF1975  four 16th notes in 6/8
  85MotetFrench 13th c. Dorian mode
1786a Exercise for Renaissance Tonguing SyllablesCPF 2002 renaissance tonguing (written)
  86b"""  renaissance tonguing (sounding)
 87" "1975  
 88Allemande Susato1551   
  89Exercise for Renaissance Tonguing Syllables CPF2002   
  90Ribbon DanceEnglish 17th c.  
 91English FolkdanceTraditional17th c.   
1892Ronde and DanceCPF1975  dotted half = half (equal pulse)
 93Ronde & HoboekentanzSusato1551  Dorian mode
1994Round in Phrygian ModeCPF1975  Phrygian mode, 16th note triplets in 6/8
 95Phrygian Melody""  Phrygian mode
 96Phrygian Exercise""  16th note triplets in 6/8
 97Motet French13th c.  Phrygian mode
20 98NotaEnglish 13th c. review of lessons 1-19
  99Finger Control Exercise CPF2002   
  101Apley HouseEnglish Folk Song17th c.  Ionian mode
  102Two Part RoundEnglish 17th c. Ionian mode
 103Come Follow, Follow MeJohn Hilton 1652 Ionian mode
 104White Cockle BellsEnglish17th c.  Ionian mode
 105Sans OrgeuilFrench Motet13th c.  Dorian mode
 106Mit Gunstlichem HerzenOswald von Wolkenstein c. 1410 Dorian/Ionian  mode
 107Bransle Praetorius1612  Transposed Ionian mode
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