I’ve a couple of small groups of recorder pupils – two or three in each group – young children aged around seven or eight years old. After talking to other woodwind and recorder teachers and looking through various books, including these old favourites;
- ‘Recorder Magic’ by Jane Sebba and David Moses
- ‘Recorder from the beginning’ John Pitts
I’ve gone with ‘Red Hot Recorders’ by Sarah Watts, because the one book takes you quite a long way,
and supplemented it with ‘Recorder Boppers’ by David Moses (link to website here).
Most of the children had already received one term’s whole class tuition, so we weren’t starting totally from the beginning.
I’ve chosen to intersperse ‘Red Hot Recorders’ with ‘Recorder Boppers’ because I so enjoy the clever writing – short elements that you build into something that sounds pretty amazing with the backing track. It is quite an expensive resource for a teacher to buy, but is then freely photocopiable to give sheets to the children.
‘Red Hot Recorders’ goes along at quite a pace for young beginners, and for children who don’t put in the time at home, so Recorder Bopper pieces are very useful to slow things down a bit, and consolidate what the children (are supposed to) have already learned!
The sheets are greeted with a good deal of pleasure by the children, which means I can use them both to consolidate what they are already supposed to know, and as a reward/incentive/fun concert piece as we go along.
So far the children can all read and play B A G E D. I have introduced slurring a bit earlier than the Sarah Watts book using a Bopper piece, ‘Sweet House Party’, which is their number one favourite after just a couple of weeks. They are all desperate to revisit ‘Lonely Mountain’, which I used in the whole class lessons, but I’m holding out until we have reached ‘C’ with Sarah Watts.
Now all I have to do is find an effective way of encouraging them to do more practise, and more effective practise, at home!