Saturday, January 6, 2018

Recorders everyday!

Many music teachers teach recorders as a unit during the year and review that material the following year. I tried that. I found that my students did not retain much from year to year without practice. Gee, I can barely remember how to input grades in the latest version of Powerschool from semester to semester.

So how could I get my kids to retain more skills?

Teaching recorders on and off throughout the year seemed like a good idea but when I tried that idea, my lessons were kind of hit and miss. Sometimes my students would remember their recorders, sometimes not. And the progress was not where I wanted it to be.

I noticed that my students are required to wear sneakers on P.E. days, bring a pencil to Art and headphones to Computer. They are used to bringing items to Special Area classes. I wanted to capitalize on this idea and have the kids bring their recorders to every Music class.

For years we have done rhythmic reading during each class. The kids clapped, stomped and created body percussion sounds to practice reading rhythms.

Now we play the weekly rhythm on the recorder. So they are touching that instrument every class. I started with the easy notes (I teach recorder beginning with E) and eventually challenged the kids to play more difficult pitches.

Sometimes, I have a different note on each line of rhythm (4 lines of rhythm).

Sometimes we create harmony with 2-3 different pitches.

This has become an amazing confidence booster for my students. Consistently playing the recorder each week has helped them remember fingerings and allows them to focus on technique. (My kids do not like tonguing!)

Now if a student does not bring his/her recorder, s/he stills play an instrument. We have a bucket of recorders to borrow. What I have found is that more and more students are purchasing their own recorder. I think this weekly practice is contributing to that. WIN!

Any questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Honking! Ellen

Don't miss this week's Musician in the Spotlight
 ...   Katy Perry 

and ...Ed Sheeran

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