At the beginning of the week I embarked upon my first ever time of teaching recorders to year 1 classes. I was feeling my way here…
Following a chat with a professional recorder player who teaches recorder at every level from beginner to post-diploma, I covered up the thumb-hole of every recorder. I’ve used washi-tape, in the hope that it will peel off more easily than ordinary stickers. I’ve used washi-tape for labelling the recorders too.
Before the first lesson, I went and had a word with the class teachers about their classes; special needs, behaviour issues, etc. Hmm. I won’t go into the details of that important conversation. Suffice it to say that afterwards I sat down and had a Hard Think. The first priority seemed to me was to find some way for making it really fun for the children to STOP playing their recorder!
OUP’s book VOICEWORKS PLAY has a great little song called WALK and STOP which exactly fits the purpose. It’s easy enough to make up your own version:
Pick a simple tune; let’s choose Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Change the words to
“First we clap and clap and STOP………………………pause, catching the attention of all the children….. and then continue “Then we clap and clap and STOP!…………….. pause again……. “Next we clap and clap and STOP!” …………………….. “And we clap and clap and STOP!”…………………….. “This is how we sing our song, won’t you come and sing along”.
The STOPs should be a complete surprise the first time, and the pauses be full of suspense and of unpredictable length. Every child’s eye should be upon you, waiting for some clue for when the song will continue. Everyone should just SING, no moving, clapping or tootling along, for the last bit.
Change the actions for every verse – walk, jump, slide, pat, blink, and then – playing the recorder!
This worked a dream – everyone understood the song and joined in, and when I got round to handing out recorders I was able to regain control instantly. Hooray indeed.