It isn't hard to play and you may need lessons but I just learnt what I know from books. It isn't as hard as the flute in my opinion but I'm not very good at the flute (lol). And finally it is a beginner instrument but you can get quite advanced, after 5 years I could play flight of the bumblebee.
The recorder's fipple mouthpiece makes it easier initially to produce a tone on the recorder than it is initially to produce a tone on a flute. Producing a tone on a flute is like producing a tone by blowing on the side of a bottle. It is ultimately more difficult to play rapid passages in remote keys on the recorder than it is on the flute because the recorder has no keys (except for a few keys on the tenor and bass recorders necessary because of their extreme size). It is also more difficult to play in tune on the recorder in remote keys.
Beginning recorder players tend to overblow, especially on the lowest notes. Lessons can help with breath control and proper tonguing, but in a pinch you can more or less get buy with a fingering chart.
I played recorder in 3rd, 4th, and 5th and sorry if you find this offensive... it take no skill to play it... you just have to blow and move your fingers in the right spot to be good at it... i was the best recorderist(??) in the school and i never practiced... no matter what age what skill level you have the same tone, the only thing that changes is the ability to move you fingers.... thats my opinion you don't have to agree but im just sharing my thoughts
The recorder is easy to play, but hard to play so it sounds musically pleasant. Most kids just blow it - It takes practice and an artistic rapport with the character and response of it to produce a beautiful and singing quality to the resultant sound.... like any other instrument really. I have heard a lot of school orchestras. They usually sound pretty damn awful - The reason ? - They seem to spend little time and effort on tuning up. Probably the teacher in charge is negligent here. He or she should insist on the players at least getting their instruments in tune before they start to play. This goes for all the instruments, not just the recorders.
I have been playing for four years and even knoe i started with lesons it is possable to teach your self. It is deffenitly not as hard at the flute. this instrument got me into music four the first time
Blowing and moving the fingers over the recorder is one thing... making music with it is quite diferent. I can't believe that some people thinks it is a "beginers" instrument because they "played" it in school...