News 2010

News 2010: (HU) Recorder Instruction in Hungary -- A perspective view by Árpád Zoltán Szabó

Contributed by Admin on Jun 29, 2010

I'd like to open a window to an aspect of recorder playing in Hungary with this message.

Music education in Hungary has a country-wide institution system which consists of music schools situated mostly in towns and maintained by the state.
Children can apply to these schools at the very age they start their regular school curriculum, after kindergarten, usually at the age of 6 or 7, and they continue to attend the school twice a week, in the afternoon, for the next six or eight years. The participation is voluntary (it relies on the parents, after all), and requires no payment. The schools usually provide practice instruments if needed (maybe except for the piano).

Recorder playing in this system was historically applied at the beginning of the curriculum. Children, who play one or two years on recorder usually have the opportunity at a certain point to choose a "real" instrument.

In the last two decades, fortunately, more and more children stick to the recorder (called "furulya" in Hungarian, but we use the name "blockflöte" when we want to emphasize that it's not the traditional 6-hole pastor instrument), thanks to the efforts of some bright music teachers who promote the case of the recorder as a "real" instrument. Thus, the recorder can be chosen as a main instrument for a music university student in the last couple of years.

To further promote the case of recorder playing, there's a recorder contest organized once in every three years. It's called the "Országos Czidra László Furulyaverseny" that is the "Czidra László National Recorder Contest" named in tribute of Czidra László. It was the 7th contest which they held this year with the participation of around 500 children in the regional selections, and around 60 children in the country-level selection, divided into 4 categories by age from 6 to 22. One important criterium is that only those children who don't study the recorder as a main instrument in music high schools or music universities can apply. I guess this is to provide a fair environment for the widest possible selection of students of the instrument.

The finals were organized on the 6-8th of May 2010. The names of awarded children is available at this website:

What's more interesting, there was a twenty minute radio feature made by the Hungarian Radio, which can be heard by starting the little player on that page. Included are some pieces of music by some of the winners in different age categories.

You can find the pieces at these locations:
  • * 0:9-0:38 Hans Ulrich Staeps: Sambuca. Played by: Farkas Benedek, Kovács Borbála, Laurán Apolka és Oláh Judit
  • * 10:46 - 11:58 Georg Friedrich Handel: Il Pastor Fido balettsuite. Played by: Kérges Dorottya (10), accompanied on harpschicord by Kérges Barnabás.
  • * 13:19 - 14:37 Jean Baptiste Loeillet: H-minor sonata. Played by: Zempléni Ábel (11), accompanied on harpschicord by Nagy Zsuzsanna.
  • * 15:50 - 16:54 Giuseppe Sammartini B-major sonata. Played by Tarczi Réka (4th age category), accompanied on harpshcichord by Prehoffer Gábor.
  • * 18:25 - 19:32 Giovanni Battista Fontana: 2nd sonata. Played by Prácser Lilla (4th age category), accompanied on harpshcichord by Prehoffer Gábor.

You can listen to the speech too in between, if you find Hungarian language interesting. I've prepared a transcription, available here:

At the beginning of the program the reporter asks the 3 members of the jury about their views of recorder playing in Hungary, and about the contest, then the reporter asks the players of the above works about their interests in music and recorder playing, and what they plan to do
with music in their lives.

I'd like to offer you some interesting points emphasized by the members of the jury, roughly translated here:

Lőrincz László of Szeged University, Faculty of music:
  • - More and more children apply to this music contest every time, because there's perspective in this instrument now. The instrument was treated as a lousy one for a long time, but in the last ten years, it's taken more seriously, and there's big advancement in the level of
  • playing.
  • - The instrument can be learned at the highest levels possible now at universities. But there was serious opposition and problems which were to be tackled in the process.
  • - It's a joy and pleasure to listen to the beautiful playing of the children. It's really a big step forward.

Kecskeméti László, member of the "travelling jury":
  • - Different regions proved to be the strongest ones this time than the last time. But there's a good level of playing overall.
  • - It must be emphasized that the overall preparation work of all the contestants is really much more important than the trophies.

Széplaki Zoltán:
  • - The quality is improved, more and more children choose recorder and stick to it later.
  • - The advantage of the instrument is that, since it's not so expensive, children can have their own, so they can keep it after the school and use it in their whole life (otherwise, if it's borrowed from the school, they have to give it back when they finish and it's possible that in 5
  • years they would not be able to play it anymore).
  • - The contest brought quite a wide repertoire of music from the middle age to the music of the 20th century.
  • - There are some plans to organize contests which are not only for the students of music schools but for the whole recorder playing society of Hungary.
Visit the website for more information (Hungarian language site).