Music is often referred to as a universal language. Though it may vary greatly from place to place, music is everywhere. Understanding this language allows you to sit down and make music with anyone, regardless of where in the world they come from. It also allows you to understand a piece of music, regardless of where or when it was written. As a music educator, it is my responsibility to ensure that our students not only build the skills needed to understand this important language, but also build the confidence to participate in music-making experiences long after they graduate from Hollywood Schoolhouse.

This year, has been an exciting one for both myself and for our students. It’s been exciting for me to be a new member of this incredible community, and exciting for our students to take part in new experiences in the music room. It has been a particularly special time for our third graders! As a part of the third-grade music curriculum, we learned how to read and write pitches and rhythms using the musical alphabet and music staff. After playing note naming games and using our staff lapboards for writing practice, we are ready to transfer our newly learned music literacy skills to the recorder!

One question I have received a lot over the years is, “Why do kids learn to play recorder in school?” The truth is that the recorder is the perfect starter instrument for students! Recorders are inexpensive, have appropriate sized holes for children’s fingers, and are easily transported to and from school. Traditional band and orchestra instruments require long term instruction to master embouchure, tone production, and fingering technique. After only a few lessons on recorder, students can produce a proper tone and are ready to begin playing songs. Responsibility, self-motivation, collaboration, and improved listening skills are other added benefits.

We are only three weeks into our recorder unit, and I already see an incredible amount of growth. Students are coming to class eager to share what they have practiced and regularly comment on the improvement in their individual sound and our sound as a group. Their sense of pride is palpable. We are so excited to share what we have learned on our recorders during our end of year enrichment showcases. Looking forward to seeing you there!