Last term I achieved a long-held ambition. When I stumbled across an arrangement of the themes from the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony for ocarinas I simply burst into laughter. Then I decided that it was something that HAD to be done – the whole concept was just too, too absurd.
With a class set of ocarinas in my hand, and a year 5-6 class to teach, my plans were laid. It took a very careful, steady approach to teach a class of complete novices to read the ock-boxes and learn to deal with all the rhythms and score reading challenges. The class were very good-humoured about the project, if a little overwhelmed at the appearance of the music at first. However, as time went along, the children started feeling really proud of themselves each time they managed a line, or a page, or to play in several parts.
My challenge to them was not so much as to get it all correct, but to try and improve every time.
I interspersed playing, with watching various performances of the symphony, especially ones with graphic scores,
or the PDQ Bach version.
We also watched “The Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra” to see all the orchestral instruments.
Here’s where I found the arrangement – It will work for more than just ocarinas, so give it a go!