Saturday, March 19, 2016

How to Teach K-3 Recorder Songs

Teaching beginning recorder songs will be less challenging if you can select songs that only use three notes: B, A, and G. These three notes use a very simple fingering mechanism, and you can get your classroom playing "Three Blind Mice" in a matter of minutes with the proper instruction. After the children have learned these initial three notes, move on to additional notes. Rather than teaching notation, write the letter names on the board at first. Later, begin to show them what the notes look like on a staff.

Step 1: Show the children how to breathe properly by asking them to yawn. Tell them that every time they play, they should breathe in deeply and feel the muscles in their stomach expand. When blowing through the recorder, they should use minimal air and keep the airflow steady.

Step 2: Provide the children with the correct fingering combination. Start by asking them to place their thumb on the hole underneath the recorder, then place the first finger on the top hole. Ask them to play this note, and then explain that they just played the note B. Write the letter name on the board.

Step 3: Ask the children to put their index finger over the second hole while still covering the first hole and the thumb hole. Once they play this note, tell them that they just played the note A. Write this note on the board as well.

Step 4: Teach the children how to play the last note in "Three Blind Mice" by asking them to put their middle finger over the third hole while keeping the other holes covered. This note is G; reinforce this by writing it on the board.

Step 5: Instruct the children that you are going to have them play a song. When you point to a letter on the board, you want them to play that note. Point to the notes, in a steady rhythm, following this order: B, A, G. Then rest for one beat and play the notes again. This is the first half of the song "Three Blind Mice."

Step 6: Show the children a picture of the treble clef staff, and place the note B right in the middle of the staff. Tell them that this note is B. Then do the same thing for the other two notes.

Step 7: Create music using only the note B, A and G until the children have learned to recognize these notes on the staff and play them. In the beginning, use only quarter notes to create music. You can add other notes once the children are in higher grade levels.