For many of us, learning to play the recorder may have been the catalyst for the beginning of a career in music education. Learning to play an instrument is an important skill for today’s students, and often access to instruments is limited. The recorder can fill this gap, it is small, portable and cheap.
Yes, I know it may sound horrible in the wrong little hands, but so does a violin at first! The recorder can be the gateway instrument for many young aspiring and developing musicians. Parents may hate music teachers for making their child rehearse at home, but everyone must start somewhere, so why not with the recorder?
If you want your copy of the FREE Recorder Advocacy Posters, click the image below.
Below are 25 reasons why everyone should have the opportunity to learn the recorder.
1 It helps develop strong lungs and breath control.
This is such an important skill! I know we all need to breath to stay alive, but how many of us know how to breath and fill our lungs with a good string low breath? Recently, I have had to undergo radiation treatment, and this treatment involved me holding my breath for more than 20 seconds at 80% lung capacity during treatment. I can tell you, it was easy for me because I knew how to control my breathing and this made the treatment time go so much quicker!
Controlling the breath during meditation is also an important skill for our students to learn in this busy and stressful world.
2 It teaches us to read music
This is really a no brainer. Learning to read music, and having the brain learn new things is one way of strengthening new pathways. Learning to read anything is important and learning to read music is a lifelong skill that can be used in all parts of future music education.
3 It helps us develop our listening skills
Developing skills in listening to each other, and how different parts of the music interact and rely upon each other is something that we should be able to do. Playing and performing as part of a small or large recorder ensemble requires everyone to listen to each other to make the music “sound” the way it should.
4 It helps us develop our aural skills
Music aural skills can only be developed through playing and performing music. The more opportunities students have to play music, the more they learn about what music has the potential to sound like when musical elements are changed or altered. Through playing music children develop their musical “ear” when they start to connect what is written on the page to what they hear or play.
5 It helps to develop our eye and hand coordination
When students play the recorder, they must coordinate both their hands to make the correct notes with their fingers. At the same time, they might be either watching the page of music or their music teacher conducting the ensemble, either way they need to make sure that the eyes and hands are doing what they are supposed to, at the right time! This activity is so important to help develop other reading and sporting skills.
6 It helps develop our fine motor skills
Using each of the fingers, on both hands while playing the recorder is not easy for a lot of children. Coordinating the placement of fingers over those holes to form notes that are written on the page, requires a lot of brain power. When students rehearse the placement of fingers in the correct position, their fingers develop muscle memory and it becomes easier and easier strengthen their fine motor skills.
7 It can help our self-confidence and self esteem
When children learn new things, it is often hard at first. As a child overcomes the problems that learning the recorder can present, their confidence and self esteem are built up. If you have ever watched a child perform and then talked to them afterwards, they are usually smiling from ear to ear as they know that they have just been a part of something that was truly special.
8 It helps develop our problem-solving skill
Or have you ever tried to create something using new skills that you have just learned? When students try to create a piece of music, either from one that is written or one that they are creating, there will always be problems. Students need to work together to come up with a solution, and this requires patience and thinking outside the box to fix an issues that may come their way.
9 It helps build teamwork skills
Have you ever tried to complete an activity as either a small or large group? When our young music students perform as part of a group, there will always be problems that arise. Being a part of a team, or musical group, is one way that students get the opportunity to build teamwork skills.
10 It helps us to present our best selves in public
So often, students have no need to talk or perform in front of an audience. If students have the chance to perform from a young age, they soon learn what is acceptable public behavior and what isn’t. We all need to know how to behave in certain situations and playing the recorder in front of an audience is one way of learning this life skill.
11 It helps develop our musical ear
Playing any instrument helps us to listen to music differently. The more diverse music that our students experience helps them develop their own musical ear. If students only hear and perform one type of music, they are not then having the chance to experience every different flavor that music has on offer.
12 The recorder is small and portable
The recorder does not take up a lot of physical space in any music department. It is an instrument that can be easily taken to and from school in a backpack. It is light, and quite string for it’s size! The popularity of the recorder comes from the ease of storing and moving the instrument.
13 It helps develop both sides of our brain
When students play the music that they are reading, both sides of the brain are engaged in the activity. Reading and playing music is one of the few activities that uses both sides of the brain at once! Studies have shown that playing and reading music improves brain function and helps to make us use more of our brains creating new neural pathways.
14 It helps develop our grit and perseverance
How often do you see students give up the first time they try something new? If they can’t do something easily, they often give up. Learning the recorder and tackling the difficulties that this can present head on, helps our students to learn what it takes to make it real life. Grit and perseverance cannot be taught when success comes easily, it can only be learned through experiencing failure and trying something new. It is OK to fail, but it is not OK to try. Learning the recorder means students must try and keep trying to develop musical skills through grit and determination.
15 It helps develop our memory
When students learn finger positions of the different notes on the recorder, they need to remember those notes to play melodies. Once students have mastered learning finger positions and have them committed to memory, then students learn to memorize pieces of music to play. This skill only gets stronger the more that students have the chance to use these skills.
16 It is an affordable instrument to play
This is probably the most common reason everyone, at some stage has learned to play the recorder! It simply is cheap to purchase – consider the price of one trumpet compared to the price of one recorder! Schools can purchase easily 100 recorders for the same price as a trumpet! Schools get more bang for their buck with recorders – more students can play because of the price and portability of the instrument.
17 It helps develop our self-discipline
When students learn the recorder, they learn that in order for the instrument to sound any good requires a lot of control. You can’t just blow into it and make it sound musical! You must learn to listen to others, learn where to put your fingers, learn how to control the breath so it doesn’t squeak, as well as learn how to play in time with others. These all require a lot of self-control and discipline.
18 It helps develop our patience
This patience can be both from the teacher and student! It takes time to create a performance, and this requires lots of patience. Children must learn where to put their fingers, learn the melody and how it sounds, learn the timing, and then they try to put these skills together to create a song. This all takes time, and each part will take the time it needs to ensure the music that is to be performed will sound good. No amount of rushing through parts will help in the end, lots of patience and time is needed to perform a piece of music.
19 It helps develop our respect for the Arts
When children have the chance to learn about the Arts, everyone benefits. If a child does have the chance to experience the Arts, then they won’t discover the talents within them. Even if a child realizes that they may not have any talents in the Arts, just knowing how hard the skills in the Arts are to master means that everyone in the community wins.
20 It helps develop a lifelong appreciation of the Arts
Just like respecting the Arts, appreciating the Arts can only come with the opportunity to experience it. If a child never hears or learns about musicians and artists, then they won’t know what it means to be a musician or artist. The lighting of the artistic fire, no matter what form it takes, is something very special to behold, and when a student learns to enjoy and appreciate things of beauty then we all win.
21 It helps develop a lifelong appreciation of Music
Just like appreciating the Arts, learning about different styles and genres of music is an important part of a child’s education. Learning about where the music they like has its origins, helps create a well-rounded individual. Learning to appreciate what other people like is a skill that we all need.
22 It helps develop our respect for Music
Developing respect for Music is like developing respect for anything. We must all show respect for the opinions of others, even if we disagree. Learning to play music that is unfamiliar, learning to play music that we might personally like, but others do, helps us to show respect.
23 It helps develop our communication skills
Playing music, of any kind, means that we must communicate in non-verbal ways. Playing the recorder, whether as a soloist, or as part of an ensemble, means that we must listen and communicate with the ensemble, conductor or audience in many ways. Learning how to “read” and “talk” non-verbally is a great communication skill that is learned while playing the recorder.
24 It is the right size for young musicians to learn
The recorder, because it is light and small, makes it very easy for little hands to learn. Learning this instrument helps students realize if they want to learn other instruments. Imagine if we all had to learn how to play the bassoon! The classroom would have to be 10 times bigger and imagine 100 students all trying to get on and off the school bus with the bassoon! What a nightmare, I do like the bassoon, but it is not a great instrument of little hands to learn on.
25 It gives us experience and opportunity to work as a group
It seems to be that less and less children play team sports these days. Playing the recorder as part of a class ensemble means that everyone must learn the work together to make “music” and not “noise”. Playing music at school gives students the chance to be a part of a group, and it means that when performing as a group they get to enjoy success as a group.
If you would like a copy of these FREE Recorder Advocacy Posters, click this link here.
You might also want to check out the Recorder Bundles by clicking this link below.
Until next time
Julia from Jooya