The time of year has come where all students in grade three, four and five have began working on recorders, setting practice goals and learning new songs and notes to add to their repertoire. This is also the time of year where we get parents and teachers saying ‘Listening to one recorder is hard enough but 22 recorders would be torture.’
Recorder playing does not have to be torture. Listen and watch the the video clip below played by the Nanyang Recorder Ensemble made up of elementary and middle school students.
Or watch this clip all played by the same person and then layered over one another.
When a student plays the recorder it does not have to sound like a gaggle of dying geese. For the first few weeks of recorder in grade three it may be difficult to listen to students as they try to find a way to make the sound sweet and beautiful. In class we work on tone production, on breathing properly and not squeaking. See the recorder tips page for further details. Then students are challenged to Practice 10 minutes everyday so they can find that sweet sound. If students do not spend any time practicing the beautiful tone will never arrive and the sound produced will continue to grate on the ears of everyone around them!
What can you as a parent do to help?
-Ask your child what they are learning with the recorder in music class. Ask them specifically about the goals they have and what pieces or notes they are learning
-Encourage your child to practice 10 minutes everyday. Practice can mean playing out loud, in chin position or even naming the notes using the correct rhythms.
-Ask your child to work on their sight reading skills by looking at the different pieces found here on our Recorder Links page
-Ask your child to play their favourite recorder song for you or to play a review song. You can also ask little neighbors or siblings to listen to them play
-Keep a practice chart like this one and celebrate practice success. If your child has practiced 7 days in a row celebrate by going to a playground or eating ice cream together
-Encourage your child to make up and write their own recorder compositions
In the next entry we will talk about ways to encourage your child to practice recorder or other instruments as well.