Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (BRC) is giving young musicians the chance to play a recorder – made out of a carrot. The workshops, led by instrument maker Tim Cranmore, will take place on 16 and 17 February as part of the Birmingham International Recorder and Early Music Festival.
“The similarities between a boxwood tree – used traditionally to make a woodwind instrument – and a carrot are glaringly obvious if you think about it,” explained Cranmore. “They are both organic, cylindrical and grow in the ground. However, one is orange and the other isn’t, although this distinction is a minor one when it comes to design.”
Better still, BRC alum Sarah Jeffery has created an online tutorial for would-be vegetable woodwind players, answering critical questions such as ‘what tools do you need?’ and ‘how big does the carrot have to be?’
“By following the principles of recorder construction with a carrot, it is inevitable that a working instrument will be born,” added Cranmore. “However, to get one to play over an octave, in tune and in G major, requires 40 years of experience.”
Other highlights of the festival – which runs from 15-18 February – are performances from The Gonzaga Band and Bonfire Radicals, a special concert programme titled The Art of Moog (celebrating the 50th anniversary of Wendy Carlos’ Switched-On Bach album), an early music market , masterclasses, taster workshops and the Birmingham Young Recorder Soloists’ Competition.