A Beginners Guide to Starting a Recorder Program
Thinking about starting a new program with your music classes? Not sure what to do?
Is this the problem….
Your time is precious, and you don’t want to waste it.
Your budget is limited, and you want to get the most bang for your buck.
You have limited space in your classroom to store large numbers of instruments.
You have multiple classes at several different grade levels and are not sure where to start with each of them.
You want resources that are ready for you to just pick up and “teach” and not waste lesson time with busy “fluff” work.
This dilemma was me a when I started teaching many years ago in 2001. My new school, in my second year of teaching, had very limited resources. There was only one “Music” classroom in the school, and the permanent staff member had access to this – I didn’t! I had to teach in a Maths classroom, the reason I was because in this room there was a very old, out of tune piano shoved in the back corner. I was told that I had to “make do” with this piano. I didn’t even have access to any more portable instruments like tuned and untuned percussion.
It was a huge problem. I was supposed to engage a class full of 30 Year 7 or 8 students in musical activities, without the aid of actual instruments! It seemed impossible. And this was all before we could just “google” for resources, only 14 years ago – hard to believe. I did have a program to follow, but this was before we had Interactive Whiteboards, computers in the classroom. I didn’t even have any sound equipment to play music samples on! I had to get creative.
My saving grace was the humble recorder. Even though most of my students didn’t want to play them at first, I slowly convinced them that the recorder was a worthwhile instrument to learn and play. This took a lot of hard work. I had to be prepared every lesson for those students who “forgot” their instrument. I had to have music that they wanted to play, and the only way I could accompany them was by bringing in my own guitar and playing after we had learned each piece.
The program was very successful, it led to most of those students starting their own musical journey and many continued on completing Music in their final years at High School. I still have contact with some of these former students who are now close to 30, and many of them are working musicians today.
Let’s fast forward a few years. Now you don’t have to “reinvent the wheel”. Today everything is just a few clicks away, whenever you need it. So how do you start your own Music Recorder program? Simple, follow the steps below and soon you will be on your way to having classes full of students enjoying and playing music.
Find out How Many $$$ are in the Budget
Before you begin any new program, it is a really good idea to go and chat to those who hold onto the purse strings. Talk to your Head Teacher, Lead Teacher, Coordinator, Deputy Principal, Principal or even the Parents and Citizens President – talk to anyone who will be able to help you financially. See what money is available, then work form there. Let them know what you want to do, let them know how it will benefit the students and the school.
One of the benefits of the recorder is that it is a cheap instrument, and often you can get great deals if you order certain numbers with your suppliers.
Choosing a Recorder
The best way to get recorders that sound in tune all together, is to purchase the best ones available to you and your students. I have found good supplies of recorders in some of the most unlikely places. I was in an Office Supply store recently, and in their “Back to School” promotional tables were some good quality recorders for a really good price.
Before you start your program, find some good local suppliers, and then let parents/caregivers know where they can purchase a recorder for their child. Do yourself a favour, purchase a few “spares” for those students who cannot afford one, or will continually forget them.
If you can purchase the recorders in bulk from a good supplier, then go for it. I have found in the past that it was hard to get students to purchase them from the school, for some reason parents always wanted to get their own – I don’t know why??? You will know your students and school – do what you think is best for your situation.
To get students, parents/caregivers and the school community on board with your new program you will need to promote the recorder as the great instrument that it actually is. Below is a list to help you with this.
Why do we play the recorder?
- It helps develop strong lungs and breath control
- It teaches us to read music
- It helps develop our listening skills
- It helps develop our aural skills
- It helps develop our eye and hand coordination
- It helps develop our fine motor skills
- It can help our self-confidence and self esteem
- It helps our problem-solving skills
- It helps build teamwork skills
- It helps us to present our bets selves in public
- It helps develop our musical ear
- The recorder is small and portable
- It helps to develop both sides of our brain
- It helps to develop our grit and perseverance
- It helps to develop our memory skills
- It is an affordable instrument to play
- It helps develop our self-discipline
- It helps develop our patience
- It helps to develop our respect for the Arts
- It helps to develop a life long appreciation for the Arts
- It helps to develop a life long appreciation for Music
- It helps to develop our respect for Music
- It helps to develop our communication skills
- It is the right size for young musicians to learn
- It gives us the experience and opportunity to work as a group
Choosing a Program
The last step is to choose a Recorder Program to follow and use while teaching. There are many out there, and your budget will determine which one you decide to go with.
When considering a program, you should keep the following things in mind
- Does the program have steps or levels from beginners to more advanced players?
- Does the program have several songs at each step or level?
- Does the program have a reward system or a way to “complete’ each step or level?
- Does the program have ways to differentiate and include all student ability levels?
- Does the program have some music theory activities to reinforce the practical learning?
- Does the program have composition activities for students to explore music and melody creation?
- Does the program have audio to accompany the songs to aid in learning?
- Does the program have backing tracks to play along with in class and in performances, so you don’t have to rely on accompanists?
- Does the program have bulletin board resources for display?
- Does the program have arrangements that are designed for young musicians?
There is one program that ticks all these boxes, The Ultimate Recorder Method.
This recorder program has so many features and inclusions, that you simply will not need to ever buy another Recorder program ever again.
There are 10 levels in the Ultimate Recorder Method. Each level has the following inclusions
- Each new note is introduced with an Aussie Animal Character.
- Exercises to practice each new note
- Songs to play using the notes in each level
- Small Ensemble arrangements for every song. Each arrangement is for the recorder, two other melodic parts and 3 untuned percussion parts. This means there should be an instrument for everyone to play!
- Audio files to learn, rehearse and perform with
- Separate PDF’s of each song and arrangement
- Musescore files of each melody and arrangement. Musescore is a FREE music program for you to download. This way you can adjust arrangements to suit your needs – saving you time and headaches
As a BONUS, each level also includes the Recorder Bulletin Board Kit, so you can decorate your classroom and inspire future musicians
- Alphabet Bunting
- I Can Statements
- Large Recorder Finger Charts
- Small Recorder Finger Charts
- Recorder Advocacy posters
- Sight Reading Cards
- Treble note and finger chart match it cards
- Treble Note match it cards
- Student progress recording sheets
Click here to check out The Ultimate Recorder Method at my Teachers Pay Teachers store now.
If you would like to try before you buy, and would like a FREE 40-page excerpt from Level 1, click here to find out how to grab your FREE copy now.
Or click the link below to check out all the Recorder Resources here on TPT
Until next time
Julia from Jooya