Sunday, August 6, 2017

How to Create Recorder Tutors

As I mentioned in my previous post (Recorder Belts...), I started using recorder belts to motivate my students to practice the recorder. It had a bigger impact than I expected. Actually all the kids wanted to do was play recorders - all the time! As much as I love these squeaky instruments, there were other songs/dances/activities that I wanted us to sing/dance/play.

Also after a while, I had a wide span of levels that all these kids could play. Some were just emerging while others were quite accomplished. So...I created Recorder Tutors. During each class, I chose a few students who were afraid to play in front of the whole class or who needed some extra attention and paired them with another few students who had mastered a higher level. Of course, EVERYBODY wanted to do this but I found it worked best with just a few.

So while the rest of the class participated in an entirely different lesson, tutorial tooting was happening.

I set them up in my "office", each pair on a music stand. The white packet of songs had letter names underneath the notes. These were for practice. I didn't let the students earn belts unless they could play the song without letters. If the tutor felt that the student was ready to play for a belt, they removed the white packet and used the yellow packet (no letter names). I even gave these tutors the authority to award belts. Very big deal to them!

This became so popular that tutors and "tutees" came to the Music Room at the start of the day before I had classes to play. I LOVED how much confidence was generated with this strategy! Both the tutor and tutee felt special and progress continued WITHOUT the teacher (my ulterior motive)!!

Side note: I no longer refer to playing on the recorder as tooting since that word now has the connotation of a certain bodily function and creates quite a round of  laughter when used. I call it HONKING. So as I tell my kids as they leave me...

Happy Honking!


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