At my school, we start recorders in 3rd grade and spend most of the year reinforcing the basics; posture, breath, articulation, finger placement, etc. This year, we learned the notes B,A,G, and E. As I said in my last post, I was sure that Lisa Sullivan's conference session I attended would forever change the way I taught recorder. I'm happy to say that it has.
Whether you start with C/A or G/E or another combination, the benefits of beginning with so/mi are undeniable. Not to say this method would be the best for everyone's classroom, particularly teachers who do not start with so/mi in their Solfa teaching, but it has done wonders for my students.
Here are a list of the benefits I've observed since using this method (I started in January):
1. Reinforcement of So/Mi patterns
Before playing anything on the recorder, we practice melodic dictation with so/mi patterns (a specific post about that will come later this week). I will play a so/mi pattern on the piano, and they sing it back in Solfa. Later in the class, as students play G and E on their recorder, this interval is reinforced yet again.
2. Students know when they've made a mistake
Because students have sung so/mi patterns since kindergarten, they know the interval well. Therefore, when they play the wrong pitches, they know it. Knowing when you're wrong is half the battle.
3. So/Mi are easy to identify on the music staff.
My students already know that So and Mi are "copycats" on the music staff.
|Screenshot from Frog in the Millpond: a song and game for teaching quarter rest.|
I'm predicting more benefits for next year, when I'm able to use this method the entire year through. What method do you use for beginning recorder, and why? Leave a message in the comments.