by Kathy Morrison
As we learn the recorder in our last year of Kindermusik, we will be introducing 5 notes during the course of 15 weeks.
Whenever learning a new instrument or almost any new skill, repetition over time is the key to success! For example, it is better to practice for 10 minutes a day for 4-5 days in the week, than to practice for 30 minutes on 2 days.
Children love “visual” signs of accomplishment, so consider creating a checklist that your child can “mark” with a pen or with a sticker every time they practice.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS:
- Choose a consistent time each day for practice. Perhaps it’s in the morning BEFORE school when your child is fresh? Perhaps it’s “Pajama Practice” before bed and can ONLY be done in your child’s favorite PJ’s. Get creative and make it fun.
- Continue to practice the rest, ready, and play positions. Ready position means that the recorder mouth piece is resting on the chin.
- Coach your child to use “flat” fingers over the holes in order to cover them. Press down the finger over the hole and then lift up. What do you see? Look for the circle mark on the finger – are you covering the entire hole? If so, you’ll see circles for each hole.
- Less is more! Remind your child that less air will produce a more beautiful sound.
- Use the tongue (not air or breaths) to produce each note. The child should be making a “too” sound/motion with the tongue to produce the notes.
- Shoulders and cheeks are still and not moving.
- Keep practice light and fun. Take a video and ask the child to tell you what they see rather than giving comments. Help them discover what they can do differently to produce a musical and beautiful sound.
Just like adults, children can become frustrated if a new note or skill does not come easily or with the 1st or 2nd try. Help your child understand that practice is the key. Set their expectations and remind them of other things that they learned to do with practice over time. (Perhaps even give an example of something YOU had to learn to do with practice.)
The process of daily practice will help your child develop patience, create anticipation for the coming success/accomplishment, and foster a sense of determination. These skills are important for success in school, in life, and in our musical mastery of instruments.