Early days of recorder teaching in South Australian schools: A personal history

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


As a primary school student in the 1960s I learnt the recorder. This paper explores how the recorder became a staple of Australian primary school music programs. At that time recorders were comparatively recently revived Renaissance musical instruments that were adopted by music educators as a way for children and their teachers to engage in instrumental music making in classes. The inclusion of recorders in school music lessons was not always as successful as hoped but a lucky few had recorder teachers who were expert musicians like my teacher.This personal history explores the arrival and presence of the recorder in school music in South Australia. Data were gathered from primary and secondary documentary sources, personal recall and an interview with my recorder teacher, Cecily Wood. This research considers a commonplace occurrence in the lives of many Australian children and by focusing on a taken-for-granted practice in school music, adds to the historical record and to our understanding of what we do and why we do it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-26
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journal of Music Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • primary school music
  • recorder playing in schools
  • instrumental music learning
  • history of the commonplace
  • Cecily Wood

Cite this