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Recorder Resources


What is the recorder? ­

The recorder is an awesome learning tool in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade music class at Pleasant Grove. Learning to play a melodic instrument is an invaluable resource for improving all aspects of musicality and the recorder is an excellent instrument for 3rd - 5th grade fingers. This activity will get students playing at home and keep them really motivated through the whole learning process. Recorders are available for purchase for $4.50 at the PGES bookstore. Our method book, Recorder Express is $5.50 at the bookstore. If students lose their recorder bag, a replacement is $1.25.

How does it work?

Students will learn many recorder pieces in music class throughout the school year. During class students may play selected recorder pieces from the student book, Recorder Express, for Mr. Newsham. He scores each student with a rubric, shown below.

  • 6 pts (S+): 0, 1, 2 mistakes in pitch or rhythm. Plays in tune confidently. No squeaks.
  • 5 pts (S): A few mistakes in pitch or rhythm. Usually plays in tune. 1 or 2 squeaks.
  •  4 pts (S): Several mistakes in pitch or rhythm. Occasionally plays in tune. Several squeaks.
  • 3 pts (S-): Many mistakes in pitch, rhythm, or tonguing. Starts and stops once or twice.
  • 2 pts (S-): Many mistakes in pitch, rhythm, or tonguing. Starts and stops several times. Uneven tone quality.
  • 1 pt (U): Same as above (2 pts) but cannot finish playing the song.

How do I practice?

Complete these following steps, in order, to practice effectively:

  1. Find a quiet area to practice without distractions.
  2. Write the pitch letters above or below each note in the recorder melody.
  3. Say the rhythm of the melody using our rhythm syllables. Begin slowly. Do not move ahead to the next step until you can say the rhythm correctly.
  4. Say the pitches of the melody using the correct rhythm.
  5. Repeat step 4, but now with your recorder in “chin position” and moving your fingers to the correct pitches. You should still be saying the pitches aloud.
  6. Play the melody on the recorder, beginning at a slow tempo, and gradually speeding up with each new repetition of the melody.

To help your child in their recorder practice, follow these helpful hints:

  • Sit up straight.
  • Left hand on top, right hand in the middle
  • Curl lips around teeth; no biting the mouthpiece.
  • Cover the holes with the pad of your finger – leaks cause squeaks!
  • Whisper “too” on each note.
  • Blow gently with warm, steady air (“steamy window air”).
  • Always use the correct fingering, found on the last page of our recorder book.
  • Video Tutorial on how to practice at home!

What do I practice?

The link "Recorder Practice Schedule" outlines the general timeframe for progress on the recorder. The fingering column indicates the pitches used in each song, from highest pitch to lowest. For example, we will practice Juba p 11 in 4th  grade, and it uses the pitches high C, B, A, and G. I will stamp each song in the student book in 4th and 5th grade and after 15 minutes of practice, parents should sign the song, indicating their child has completed their homework assignment. Students are always encouraged to practice as long as they need to 3rd grade may not have homework but may practice at home any time after Winter Break