Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Favorite recorder resources

I got to lead a wonderful HOMe Co-op today, where about 20 kids learned the basics on recorder playing. For those parents interested in continuing at home, here are some of my favorite recorder resources. Also, I will make myself available to help any child or children (or parents) who want to do a little more recorder each week at Co-op before or after the more formal lesson.

Dexter Dragon's Amazing Recorder adventure is a suite of pieces, beginning with one played just on B. If you're in the co-op group, you got the sheet music and the site password today at co-op for the first piece, and there are several more that I can make copies of for those who wish to continue. There are also adorable stories for each next step and new skill. On the site, you can hear the music and play along, as well as access other great resources.

By the same folks as Dexter dragon, you also got the first piece from this book (Hot Cross Buns) and the password to this site today. Recorder Karate is a set of "belt levels" for basic recorder, each adding a new skill (you may have noticed that my recorder has a "pompom" of colored yarn on the bell-that's why!). Like with Dexter, you can play along and participate in more activities on the site as you progress through the belts. I will make copies of the other pieces for anyone in the group who wants to continue-just e-mail me and let me know that you want them.

Other resources:


Printable sheet music and video lessons

Recorder playing powerpoints

Tips to remember about playing recorder-

Left hand on top-
On recorder, this matters less than other instruments, but all other woodwinds and brass are left dominant, so it's best to get in the habit of playing left hand on top now so that the transition is easier later on if the child decides he wants to play a different instrument.

Blow Gently-
Soft, warm, air-be a tropical breeze, not a west wind. It's not the right time of year to fog up windows, but when I started recorder 2nd semester, I'd actually have my students practice fogging up windows to get the breath slow enough. Another good trick is to attempt to move a candle flame, without blowing it out.

Cover holes completely
Look for "recorder circles" on the pads of the fingers when hands are removed-if you don't have them, you're not pressing hard enough.

Think Dah.......

Most wind instruments you tongue using a "ta" sound. For recorder, you want a very soft approach, so you don't overblow and squawk. Daa is a good place to start.

Recorder care-
Don't share your recorder with anyone you wouldn't share your toothbrush with!
Brush teeth before playing, or at least rinse out your mouth. You don't want food in the recorder.

Plastic recorders can generally be washed in the dishwasher without melting (every now and then, I'll get one that will, but that was usually using the commercial dishwashers when I was still teaching K-6). If yours is 3 pieces, take it apart. Let drain and dry thoroughly before playing.

I had a lot of fun making music with you today! I hope you'll have fun at home.

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