Saturday, June 7, 2014

Can You Spare a Square?

Last year I struggled mightily to teach the third grade how to blow in to their recorders.  I described it, I demonstrated, I made them learn to chant, "You're blowing too hard!" when I asked, "If you're squeaking what's wrong?"

But most of them didn't get it.  My fault.  I was explaining and modeling mainly for auditory and visual learners.  My kinesthetic babies were left out in the cold.

Then I happened to see a little snippet of a video of Maria - the AbFab music teacher who demos things for Carnegie Hall's Link Up program - having her kids practice breathing with little tissue paper squares:

Comme ├ži

Worked like a charm.  This year I used them - the day I handed out their recorders I also handed them each a square to keep in the case.  The idea is to hold the square in the palm of your flattened hand and blow so gently that the tissue paper moves but does not fall off your hand.  Harder than it sounds!  I call it the Leaf Blower exercise.

Because I am that geek extremely dedicated music teacher, I'm already setting plans in motion for next year.  Yep, we're incorporating MusicK-8's Recorder Karate program.  I'm hoping this makes a huge difference in the at-home practicing engagement of my kids.  It's always been tepid at best.  Check out the Recorder Rules bulletin board I pinned from!  Pretty awesome blow-ups of the cute karate recorder children.

I will definitely let you know how it all comes out in the wash.  What are your tips for encouraging practice at home?