Whole Class Recorder Session Introduction
Who I am! Current experience of whole class teaching – involvement in Hertfordshire pilot scheme, teaching of recorders, tin whistles, ocarinas
Basic Behaviour Rules for whole class teaching (put them into pupil speak!) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
All music begins in silence. If I have asked you to listen you listen, you don’t play. (I play/ You play) If I have asked one child or a group of children to play, others listen politely and in silence. We do not laugh at other people’s mistakes - though we may laugh at our own. If you are deliberately disobedient then your recorder is confiscated for part or all of the lesson. You listen to explanations and I will give you time to ask questions afterwards. You do not interrupt while I am speaking to the class.
Basic points (Do’s and don’ts!)
DO put your mouthpiece on your bottom lip. DON’T put it right in your mouth, it’s not a dummy (or a snack!). DO use your tongue gently for each note, a kind of soft tuh. DON’T blow as if you’re blowing out candles on a birthday cake! DO keep your breath going between each note – think of your breath like a washing line with your tongue making the notes (TUH) like pegs on the line – nice and smooth. DON’T make each note come out separately like a Dalek speaking! Do make sure each finger is on its own hole – like buttons in the right button holes! Do make sure that children get complete round shapes on their fingers (bobbles) Leave your thumb covering the hole at the back (if you have children who are really struggling with ONLY this – a piece of sellotape placed temporarily across the hole can help whole class teaching. Do use lots of rhythm games to help them get even better.
Points to remember:
The lesson needs to end with a calm and quiet activity so that you hand them back to the following teacher in a controllable frame of mind. You need to allow plenty of time for ending the lesson, clearing up, putting recorders away, collecting in books etc. Make sure they have their names on their recorders and recorder bags. Take everything very slowly indeed, especially at the beginning. What is obvious to us will be obvious to some of the brighter and more musical children and total double Dutch to others. Remember that if you want them to remember to use their left hand at the top of the recorder you must demonstrate by turning your back to them and holding out your left arm. Locate left and right – say the door or window side of the classroom because even at 8/9 years old some won’t always remember.
First Lesson top tips
Teach how to pick up and put down your recorder quietly. Use the cloth case for them to place their recorders on to avoid the din of a whole class plonking their recorders on their desks. Left hand at the top (just grasping the recorder) right hand at the bottom. We practise this several times – over several lessons! Every hole has its own finger. Thumb hole at the back. Practise putting the left hand thumb there. Never mind how they hold the recorder to do so. Then go on to first finger on first hole. Explain that the recorder will wobble so we put the right thumb at the back. Talk about blowing gently. Either blow gently onto the palm of their hand, or imagine a lit candle – you want to make the flame flicker, not blow it out! Talk about making the tongue work and do too too too etc. (Some people prefer doo but I find that too subtle with large numbers so I ask them to make a gentle ‘t’ Blow the note B, without telling them anything about the note name; concentrate on them producing the same sound. Let them try as a class, then in groups, and then individuals. Praise those who succeed and encourage those who don’t - explain that music is not something that comes at once. It needs patience. Don’t worry if you seem to spend a long time on BAG. Better get a nice tone, correct rhythms, good sense of pulse, tonguing and the basic concepts of reading music in place before going any further.
Introducing Hub Materials
Quick discussion of pre-lessons End of block expectations Introducing Red Hot Recorders Let’s have a go!