Recorder Karate Idea Bank

Game For Recorder Piece Memorization

Submitted by Gretchen Taylor, Illinois

Idea posted 2003-07-08

My seventh graders are playing "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" (From Music K-8, Vol. 12, No. 4. Also available in M. C. Handel's Excellent Recorder Adventure.) on recorders for our spring show, and they've been having a bit of trouble getting it securely locked in their memories. I've devised a little game to help secure it. I call it "Cover Up."

I'm using an overhead transparency of the piece, and I have divided each phrase by color (Intro = red, first phrase = blue, and so on; I think there are around six or seven colors.). I then cut colored strips of paper, correlated to the piece, to cover up the given phrases. I also take a small piece of each color and put in a little bag. O.K., here's the game.

I'll have the class play through the piece once with the repeat, then drill any spots that caused noticeable tie ups. When ready, I'll call on someone to draw a colored paper from the bag. Whatever color it is will be the phrase that gets covered up. I lay the corresponding color strip over the music, right on the transparency, to cover that phrase. Then we'll play the piece again, including the covered phrase (but of course they'll have to play that phrase by heart). If they do well, then the class earns a point. If not, then I get a point, and I'll uncover the phrase, drill it some more, then cover it and play it again. Another color will then be drawn and covered up along with the first one. So now when they play through, they will not be able to see two phrases but will still have to play them. The game continues until all the phrases are covered and they're playing the whole piece without seeing the notes. (What's hilarious is that they'll all be standing, playing, and LOOKING at the screen as if reading the music even though it's all covered up! Of course they ARE reading it, but with their mind's eye). Sneaky, huh?

At the end, we'll see who has the most points, and if they do, I'll probably give them all a little sweet treat!! If I win, then we'll have to keep working on the piece and won't be able to move on to something else.

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