Bird Calls

I don’t know about you but at this time of year I start seeing the effects of irregular schedules (testing, spring break, field trips, etc…).  I noticed that some of my students needed a little more help with recorder technique.  While students can remember which holes to cover for which notes and which notes are where on the staff the MUSICAL sound was missing and there was more screeching. 

I took an idea that I remember hearing at an Orff workshop.  A clinician mentioned that she took her students outside for music and had them listen to the birds sing.  The students were told to experiment with their recorders to make a bird call that they heard.  By playing (literally) with the instrument correct technique (covering the holes, soft breathing, etc…) through a FUN activity -they didn’t even realize they were practicing!

I took her idea and transferred it to my fourth grade class yesterday.  I turned the lights down low and turned on a “rainforest” CD.  The students were told that they were the birds and they needed to make their own call.  We started using  just low E and G.  As students were getting comfortable they were allowed to experiment with other notes.

It was fun, relaxing, and productive! They were able to practice without being told it was “practice.”

Do you have any tricks to get children to practice without making it feel like practice?

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