Fourth graders begin learning about the history of the recorder, parts, basic technique, and the first 3 notes: B, A, and G. We use the Rockin' Recorder Method Book (created by Allison Friedman) as our main curriculum. The students love this book because of the up-beat tracks that go along with each song. We also supplement with lots of fun recorder warm-ups and games!
The classes have really enjoyed playing the game, "B-A-G Roll and Play." It is a very simple concept but really engages them and allows them to practice their note-reading and technique individually. Each group member takes turns rolling the dice and playing that numbered example on their card.
I asked the partners to take on the role of "Recorder Doctor," an idea I got from "The Sweetest Melody" music blog. As their partner plays the example, they "diagnose" any problems they hear:
As they play, this is also a great time for me to walk around and assess the students. I can note which students are having trouble with fingerings, sound quality, or note-reading and which students are excelling in those areas. It provides the students time to help one another with their weaknesses and allows me to work one-on-one with students if they need it.
Another recorder game that 4th graders have really enjoyed is Recorder Rumble. The students divide up into two teams (they usually prefer boys vs. girls) and compete to earn the most points by correctly playing the 4-beat patterns provided.
This gives the students sight-reading practice and also a chance to play individually. It's a great assessment tool and the students enjoy the game format. I have each student take a turn to play a pattern and then, if they need to, they can consult with their team for help. It has been so neat to watch them encourage each other and compliment each other's performances! They've learned that good sportsmanship has its place in music as well!