NEWS FLASH: The Recorder Still Exists in Schools… and it’s Still Super Annoying!


There have been soooo many technological advances since our days in school. Computers have changed. Desks have changed. Even the pencils have changed. But one thing remains the same – the godforsaken recorder.

Yes. That hootin’ tootin’ life-a-ruinin’ musical instrument is still around. And I’m living proof that it’s still driving parents mental.

This year my son enters year three. He’s learning his times tables. He’s reading chapter books. And, apparently, he’s taking up a musical instrument.

Or so it would seem by the booklist that got sent home. Among the coloured pencils, the exercise books and the erasers lay a new request – a recorder. Of all the beautiful musical instruments in the world, he needs a recorder? Why couldn’t it be a tambourine? Or a piccolo? I would even have been stoked with a triangle!

Death by recorder

Nope. It’s a recorder. That plastic, long, screechy thing that sounds like someone is killing a duck every time it plays a note.

Amazingly enough, the thing hasn’t changed in the slightest since I was forced to learn it back in the day. Even the songs are the same. Hot Cross Buns. Mary Had a Little Lamb. When the Saints. The Grand Old Duke.

Yep, all the classics. Back in one booklet. For your listening pleasure.

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What’s even worse is my son’s little fingers aren’t big enough to cover the holes on the recorder entirely. So even if he does play a note correctly, it still sounds all kinds of wrong. It’s like his recorder is going through puberty. And the whole house has to suffer.

All. Year. Long.

It’s only the start of school, after all. We have 40+ weeks of this.

The sound of screeching

I’m sure he will eventually grow bored of his new musical instrument. I’m positive it will end up buried in the backpack with the rest of his school stuff. But it certainly isn’t in hiding today!

So, as I attempt to work and my son belts out the note B over and over and over again (seriously, I think you’ve got B sorted, kiddo), I’ve decided to countdown some of the worst kid inventions out there to see if any of them outdo the annoyance levels of the recorder.

Glitter, giant unicorns and freaky AF stuffed animals

Sure, there’s glitter. And play dough. Both have the ability to entertain a child for six minutes. And take about triple that time to clean up. But neither make a noise.

Then there’s the battery operated walking, talking, dancing, singing, peeing, crying dolls which are also mind-numbingly annoying. But at least you can shut them off.  Even my daughter’s singing, farting, swinging finger-living monkey thing has an off button.

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I’ve already shared my disdain for this giant sized unicorn floatie which is quite possibly stalking me. Sure, it’s hard to blow up, it’s impossible to shove into the back of your car and it’s larger than my pool, but at least you can deflate it (or attempt to).

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Finally, we come to these terrifying teeth toys, which look like something that crawled out of the deepest pits of Hell, but, in fact they come from your child’s mouth.

Yep. That horrifying stuffed animal is actually wearing your child’s baby teeth. There’s a whole bunch of creepy AF toys out there, scaring our kids and haunting our dreams forever. But, as creepy as these toys are (and trust me, they are seriously creeeeeeeppppy), they aren’t exactly annoying.

The recorder trumps all

That’s the thing about the recorder – its annoyance levels are unmatched. You can’t take the batteries out. You can’t deflate it and pretend it “popped”. And you can’t hide it in the deepest corner of your closet and pray it doesn’t eat you alive.

You can’t escape the squawking thing.

For, as long as the recorder continues to be a musical staple in schools, it will inevitably be a staple in our homes.

And so, as the school year begins, I suppose the only thing I can do is smile as my son honks his way through the ending of Hot Cross Buns. And perhaps teach him another note other than B.

Did your child start school this year? Then this sweet article about starting school might help you beat the recorder blues.


Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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