Issue 130: Sharks and Recorders

I’ve always tended to say “shark”, rather than “sharp” when teaching piano – as in “watch out for Freddy Shark” when teaching G major scale. It seems to make it more memorable.shark

I have now discovered that children have absolutely no trouble learning to play F sharp on their descant recorders once you bring sharks into the picture. The fingering is slightly tricky.

Start by covering the thumb hole at the back, (“LEFT hand on top, Miranda”, or whoever it is this time) and the top three holes, then, using fingers 1 2 3 of the RIGHT hand, cover the next three holes. This note “D”, the one we were threatening Darth Vader with last week.

DON’T PLAY THE NOTES YET! (I spend most of my class recorder lessons saying “take your recorders OUT of your mouths and DON’T play them!”)

NOW, lift the FIRST finger of your RIGHT hand – check ALL the children carefully, because some will have swapped their hands over, and some will have shifted their right hand fingers down, so that finger 1 is on the hole that properly belongs to finger 2, and finger 2 is occupying finger 3’s place, and finger 3 isn’t doing anything at all.

Wiggle the first finger of your right hand up and down, while all doing “that bit” from Jaws – “dur dur dur dur”  in threatening tones. Alternate between “D-for Darth-Vader” (hoarse breathy noises) and “Shark-Attack” (dur dur dur dur). Once you can see that every one is coping with the fingering, show them the notes on the stave and let them play them when you point to the notes, or hold up the flash card.

Now you are ready to teach, sing, and play the Shark Song.

birds on a branch divider


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