Benslow's Recorder Festival celebrates the recorder with ensemble, technique and orchestral sessions at elementary, intermediate and advanced levels. Recorders and music will be available to buy and there will be an evening recital on the Tuesday.


Resident: £412 Non-Resident: £302 (25% off for under 27s) Code: 24/283

Booking for Members opens at 11am on Tuesday 14 May 2024

Non-Member and online booking opens at 11am on Tuesday 4 June 2024

For details on how to become a Member to take advantage of early booking, see here.

What is the course about?

Benslow Recorder Festival is a celebration of the recorder for all abilities from elementary to advanced with ensemble, technique and orchestral sessions. Recorders and music will be available to buy and there will be an evening concert to enjoy. Tutors will ensure that you are placed in a group at an appropriate level, and there may be movement between groups as the course progresses. Those of elementary standard, reasonably proficient at reading music, will benefit from a patient and sympathetic approach. Intermediate standard players will enjoy being stretched in technique and ensemble sessions with an option to explore one-to-a-part playing benefitting from relaxed and friendly guidance. Intermediate players should offer at least two instruments and be confident sight readers. Advanced players must be strong-sight readers with good rhythmic skills and the confidence to work on one-to-a-part repertoire. They should be able to play soprano-bass with equal proficiency and produce a good tone. Advanced players will benefit from exacting and highly skilled musical and technical guidance, delivered in a supportive manner. 

Entry to the performance on the Tuesday evening is included within the course fee.

What will we cover?

Ensemble music will draw on a wide variety of music from the 15th to 21st centuries. Good ensemble technique appropriate to the standard will be included.

Technique sessions will focus on posture, breath control and tone, fingering and articulation. Each level will work on a piece appropriate to the standard. Advanced players may explore extended techniques.

Orchestral sessions will have parts appropriate to all abilities.

There will be a talk on advanced techniques with plenty of opportunity to play. Tuesday evening a professional recorder group will give a concert.

What will we accomplish? By the end of this course you will be able to…

Approach a wide range of music in a more informed manner with the knowledge to interpret the music and the technical ability to work on a piece and improve it.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is at three levels: elementary, intermediate and advanced. Elementary players should be reasonably proficient at reading music and be able to play one octave and a fifth i.e., up to pinched G on a descant and a pinched C on a treble.

Intermediate players should be confident sight-readers, able to explore one-to-a-part consorts and be able to play at least two recorders, preferably with C and F fingering with a chromatic range of two octaves.

Advanced players should be strong sight-readers with good rhythmic skills. They should be confident in playing one to a part, produce a good tone and be able to play a range of recorders equally well.

How will the course be taught, and will any preparation be required?

The course will be taught by practical group work and tutor demonstration.

Will music be provided in advance of the course?

Music for the technique sessions will be recommended in advance and where possible via the Benslow Music website. All other music will be provided by the tutors although students are welcome to bring their own music for the one-to-a-part sessions.

Is there anything I need to bring?

A range of recorders, particularly bass, great bass and contra bass.

Music stand (optional), a chromatic tuner or tuning app and a metronome would also be useful.

What previous participants said about this course…

“Relaxed and friendly opportunities to play en masse or one-to-a-part, with very helpful tutors.”

“Delightful, friendly, welcoming and great fun!”

“I would give Caroline a 10 out of 5. Such a good tutor. Very calm, patient, understanding and very encouraging.”