Recorder Karate Idea Bank

Recorder Assessment/Game

Submitted by Susan Fincher, San Angelo, Texas

Idea posted 2010-08-09

I spend time helping students get the right pitch out. I want them to make beautiful music and if they do, they will enjoy the recorder so much more. I made up an assessment game and told them they either made 100 or 0, and I would work with them until they made 100%. All they had to do was try their best.

I have a floor staff that is about 15 feet long. I had the students line up. Students were to start playing when they stepped on the line and stop when they reached the end. They started on B line and I listened to each one as they passed by me. If just a little adjustment was necessary, I helped them then and there. If they needed more help, I asked them to step out of the line for a moment.

Several would be playing at once, but the one I was assessing was the one closest to me at the time. Sometimes I had the line stop while I briefly helped someone. Eventually, they played the G line the same way. Then I let them start on one line and stop at the end. When they stepped on the next line they started playing again. We listened to each other as well as ourselves and discovered we were playing an interval of a third. I just kept going with this until I had them playing G, B, and high D. We did the same thing with middle C, E, and G and discussed chords and interval of a 5th.

It was a lot of fun for the kids. When I have request day, this is something they request.

I was scared to death of recorders when I first started teaching them. I just barely stayed ahead of the kids. Sometimes they'd go ahead of me! I have kids that play much better than I do now.

Anyway, my students do a lot of echoing. One way to do this besides having them echo you, is have them echo each other. Start with the last person in the room. He or she plays any two notes. The next person plays those two notes and then comes up with two of their own for the next student. Keep going until you go around the entire room. If the class is really big, you might want to break this up into several days.

Squeaks mean leaks. I encourage my kids to use the fat, fluffy part of their fingers. Also, when their fingers are flat over the holes and are straight (perpendicular) with the holes, they do better. In order to get those fingers flat, it is sometimes necessary to encourage them to drop their wrist (and I always demonstrate what I mean). I sometimes even position their hands on the recorders if they are not processing what I'm trying to tell them. It takes a great deal of patience, but it does pay off in the long run.

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