One Note at a Time!

This is my answer when I am asked how I can manage to get so many little ones all playing together and playing so beautifully. I guess people have an idea that music is this big, crazy subject that requires years and years to play even the simplest song. But we all have to start somewhere, and when we are just learning something, we do it in small chunks – never all at once. This is my premise when I start teaching a class of kindergartners.

We go slowly, one note at a time. We don’t rush, we don’t hurry through things – we start by learning the parts of the recorder, then what part of our finger will cover the holes, then we try out that first B. Most of the time the first tones from their recorders are not so great, and I have jokingly threatened to issue ear plugs to all the kindergarten teachers.

But after we get past that, and get into really understanding that you can’t blow on it like a whistle, then I start see some beautiful tones coming from the recorders. Once the children can play a B reliably, then we practice some rhythms – then, I ask them if they would like to see how music can be written too. I have never had a single child say NO! Not one! They are amazing little sponges, if only things were so easy for us adults!

So how do you learn to play the recorder?