Top 5 Benefits of Teaching RecorderSep 21, 2021
Anytime I tell someone I teach elementary music, it is almost inevitable that I will get some variation of the question “do you teach recorder?” Which is almost always followed up with “I’m so sorry.” I understand where people are coming from with this notion; recorders are noisy, especially when in the hands of inexperienced players. I like to remind people, though, that every skill takes time to build up. The skills learned in the music room just happen to be louder than other skills! Nobody is perfect at every new thing they try to do!
On the other hand, there’s another camp of people who, when learning their child is going to play recorder, will ask “Why?!” This requires a more in-depth answer. There are many benefits for students to learn recorder! Let’s look at some of them.
1. Reading and Aural Skills
Learning an instrument teaches students many different skills, including how to read music (if focusing on staff notation) and how to hear music. Part of our standards for teaching elementary music include developing aural skills. Teaching recorder is yet another tool to add to a student’s aural skills toolbox. They have to be able to hear the music before they play it so they know if they played it correctly or not. Playing the recorder helps build up their inner hearing, which will help them in other aspects of music class!
2. Hand-Eye Coordination
This skill set ties in with the reading skills from the first point. If you are using staff notation, or any other way of visually showing students what notes they’re playing, the student has to read the note and remember what fingering to use for that note. They have to do this multiple times in a song, so they’re giving their brain a huge workout by continuously making those connections.
3. Dedication and Discipline
Real talk: Learning an instrument is HARD. Many elementary schools start teaching recorder somewhere around fourth grade. Kids at this age are still learning how to suspend gratification, so learning an instrument can be immensely frustrating. Learning the recorder along with their classmates teaches them how to put their mind to something in order to improve. By working toward the specific goal of learning a song, students learn perseverance, discipline and dedication to a task, which are all skills that will serve them throughout their lives!
4. Live Performance Opportunity
When students learn an instrument, it’s a built-in way to incorporate live performances in the classroom. After students are somewhat comfortable with their instruments, imagine how much fun you could have setting up mini recitals with them! It is super important for students to learn how to perform in front of others, but also how to be a kind, respectful audience. What better way to cover both of those skills than with the recorder?
5. Budget Friendly
One of the biggest perks of using recorders is how inexpensive they are. While most schools are likely not able to purchase band or orchestra instruments for every student, many schools and/or families are able to spare a few bucks per student to provide each child with their own recorder. For students who learn best with hands-on activities or are more motivated by instruments, having an instrument of their own can be so valuable!
Of course, there are countless other benefits to teaching recorder. When someone asks why you teach the recorder, what do you tell them? Hopefully this list gives you an idea of what to tell any recorder nay-sayers. And if you don’t teach recorder yet, I hope this convinced you of how beneficial it could be for your students!