Recorders are instruments in the woodwind family that come in soprano, alto and tenor versions. You may remember the recorder from elementary school music classes as your introduction to the world of music. Recorders are ideal for teaching kids the basics of music because they are simple to learn and easily used to demonstrate sight-reading and listening skills. The plastic recorder came about in the 20th century and is the most popular version for teaching students early on. Here are a few simple methods for teaching children to play the recorder.
Choose colorful plastic recorders to keep kids' interest. An expensive recorder isn't necessary when you teach children early recorder playing. Children who keep an interest in it will move to a more expensive instrument later on.
Teach music basics first. Start with the basic music staff, which consists of five lines and four spaces. This is where most beginning recorder music is notated. Use acronyms and phrases to teach the lines and spaces. FACE is the notes on the spaces of the musical staff, and Every Good Boy Does Fine represents the notes on the lines. This is an easy method kids can use to recognize the notes quickly.
Use a fingering chart to familiarize children with where the notes are on the recorder in relation to the music staff. You can purchase fingering charts at a local music shop. Many recorders you purchase will come with a fingering chart. Another option is to use an online interactive fingering chart for recorders designed specifically for kids (see Resources).
Use simple sheet music to teach kids how to sight read and play melodies. You can get simple sheet music from a local music dealer or consult one of the many online sources for age-appropriate sheet music for the recorder (see Resources). Much of this sheet music is free to use. Playing familiar songs is the best way to teach children to play the recorder, so take advantage of these free resources.