The Kodály approach, a European way of teaching children how to read and sing music, stresses excellence in all aspects of music.  His philosophy is in teaching just as much as in performing, and especially in the materials used in the classroom. “You wouldn’t feed your children bad food. Neither should you feed them bad music.” He felt that only the finest musicians should be permitted to teach children. When students are already immersed in a rich vocal environment, recorder is the best first instrument and can be introduced as “just a new way of singing,” With this approach,  it complements the ongoing music class instead of replacing or competing with it. The aim of the recorder player is to imitate as closely as possible all the capabilities of the human voice.

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Kodály’s demand for excellence extends to the choice of instruments. Your student deserves good instruments that are well-voiced for both lower and upper registers and can be played in tune. Ideally, all the instruments in a class should be identical. Because students in elementary grades have a variety of hand sizes and finger lengths, the flexibility of 3-piece recorders is essential. The recorder was popular during the 16th and 17th centuries. Many famous composers of that time, including Bach and Handel, wrote music for the recorder.  The students at Advent receive a weekly assignment/lesson on the recorder.  Beginning in the fourth grade, the student receives a soprano recorder and text. The text book will change each year, depending on the grade level. Beginning in the seventh grade, the alto recorder is introduced. The alto recorder is an F instrument verses the soprano recorder which is a C instrument.

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Why play the recorder?

  • The recorder is a natural first instrument for children; it is a melodic instrument, which is close in range to the child’s singing voice.
  • Reading recorder music allows students to further apply their music theory and reading skills they have been developing since first grade.
  • The size of the soprano recorder is perfect for a child’s hands.
  • The technique required to play the recorder provides a solid foundation for students who wish to  begin a band instrument.

Rick Phillips

*To learn more about Advent Episcopal School, please visit our website: http://www.adventepiscopalschool.org