Beginning recorder – information for parents and students

recorder 2Students in our class are beginning lessons on playing the recorder. We have worked hard to learn about reading music in standard notation, and now is our chance to play.  Below, you will find tips for students, information for parents, and a description of how music will be assessed this term. Have fun practicing!


If you make a mistake, practice that measure a few times by itself. When you can play that measure correctly three times in a row, try to play the entire piece again correctly.

If you get frustrated, put your recorder away for a few minutes and just sing and clap the rhythm. Try again later after you give yourself a break.

Always end your practice time with a song that you love to play. Give a little concert for your family so they can enjoy your music, too!

snip of fab five


You can try an ipad app for practicing notes  My Note Games.

For Parents:

How can I help my child practice at home?

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a musician, you can certainly still help your child succeed in learning to play the recorder. Here are a few things that will get your started:

1. Help your child find time to practice their recorder each weekend. Some families like their child to practice where family members can hear and encourage. Other families prefer that the child practices in a quiet room on their own.  To help, this website will often have background music for students to play along. The website will also have the sheet music, in case your child’s music book is accidentally left at school. Students are asked to play each day for 15 to 20 minutes.

2.  Ask your child to play their recorder for you. Let them give you a little mini-concert before bedtime. They may choose to play part of a song they are working on or something they make up on the spot through improvisation.

3. Look through this web page for practice tips that we learn in class, to remind them how to conquer a difficult challenge.

4. If your child is playing with a squeaky sound, suggest they try one of the 3 strategies from our “Try 3″  page (above).

5. Encourage your child to persevere and remind them of how they are improving every time they practice.  Whatever they decide to play, encourage them with some positive feedback and applause.

How does the teacher assess music this term?

I listen to students in small groups and one at a time to assess their playing and offer individualized feedback. I also offer constant feedback during recorder lessons during class as well.

When I am assessing student performance, I am looking and listening for the following things:

  •  left hand on top,
  • holes covered with flat fingerprints,
  • recorder angled downward,
  • a soft and light tone quality that doesn’t squeak or tremble,
  •  keeping a steady beat with little to no hesitation,
  • correct pitches and rhythms,
  • correct form and tempo (speed),
  • ability to play with the background music, and
  • ability to play one part when other students in class play a different part in harmony.

Students are also expected to :

  • pay attention in class,
  • show respect for others, even if they make mistakes,
  • have a positive attitude towards themselves as they learn,
  • practice on weekends, and
  • have their recorder and music book at school on the first day of the week.

Check back each week for the current songs we are working on!

recorder 3

B Happy

Students in Division 3 will be bringing home their recorder today. Each weekend, it is homework to practice the recorder each day (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) for 15 minutes. Students are instructed to find an appropriate place to practice, and to ask their parent for advice on the best spot. When we start many new songs, students should spend most of their time practising the most recent songs learned in class. Students need to  bring the recorder back to school at the start of each week.

Below, you will find the background music to use while playing at home. Students were instructed to bring home their Art and Music duo-tang with the sheet music, as the on-line copy might not be  very clear.

B Happy




Learning about the Coast Salish people

Salish village
In class we are learning about how the Coast Salish people lived. We are studying housing, food and transportation. Later we will study trading between villages.
Here is an amazing website to see what a village was like:             SFU On-line Museum

    You can travel through the village, go into the houses, and walk into the forest to learn about traditional ways of doing things.  It is worth a visit!

Special Events in February

feb 2015 heading

There’s a lot going on for our class at Prince Charles Elementary this month!

Fridays: 6th, 13th, and 27thIce skating at MSA Arena, across from Mill Lake, on Emerson Road. Please join us!  We will be there from 11:45 – 1:15 on these Fridays. Students must have helmets, and should also bring long socks, warm clothes, and extra snacks. We will eat lunch at school before we go, and we will have time to eat a snack when we get back to school in the afternoon.

Everyone in BC has Monday, February 9th to celebrate Family Day. No school.

Friday, February 13th is the day before Valentine’s Day. We will have time to exchange cards in class that day. There is a list of the students in our class below.

Sunday, February 15th is Canada’s Flag Day. This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our maple leaf flag. Intermediate students at Prince Charles  will be learning about the flag’ history in the week before February 15th.

Tuesday, February 17th – Watching Cinderella at Abby Arts Centre. Students should have have a bag lunch so they do not have to carry  backpacks.

Thursday, February 19thJump Rope for Heart Day – We are participating from 10:00 – 10:25 am in the gym.

Friday, February 20th – No school for a professional development day.

Monday, February 23rd – A guest speaker will visit our classroom. Ms Jackson will return to show us traditional items made from cedar, and she will explain the importance of cedar to the Coast Salish people.

Grade four students will have written all six FSA tests by February 19th. Great work, students!