Issue 141: Teaching young recorder players to read B and A

This worked brilliantly with a year 3 class. It came about because I couldn’t persuade my trusty “Recorder Magic Interactive” software to work on the class laptop in the 30 seconds that I had to load it and start the lesson, so I abandoned all my technology and went for whiteboard and pens instead.

I had previously taught the class to read crotchet and quaver notation from flash cards, so I put up my laminated cards (blutac-ed them to the now useless interactive whiteboard) with a couple of 4-beat bars.

doodoobee-copy

We said them (doo for crotchet, doo-bee for pairs of quavers), clapped them, and played them on B and A (the only notes I have taught them so far – this was only lesson 3!)

I then used a whiteboard pen to draw a line through the notes on just one flash card, so that we could tell the different between the Bs and the As. The children were more than happy to play B for the notes on this flashcard, and A for the notes on the other.

Next step; draw a longer line, and put some notes ON THE LINE (which means with the line running through the “blobs” of the notes and some just under the line, mixing them up a little. The children were still confidently able to play B and A correctly following this primitive notation.

Final step; explain that there are actually 5 lines, and the one we are focussing on is the middle line. If the blob of the note is ON the middle line, play B, and if it is in the space under the middle line, play A.

Whoop whoop! They could still correctly choose B and A! I shall find out whether this note-reading lesson really worked when I’m back at the school this week… and maybe this time I’ll be able to get my software working.

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