Reply To: Recorder vs Song Flute

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I believe that you should do recorder with the 3rd graders and not use the song flutes. I am of the classically trained nature that recorders are much better in quality and are treated as such when they are presented to the students at a “special” age–3rd grade would be the beginning age in my opinion although in my district we hold off until 4th. I can’t stand poor tone quality of the song flutes and students need to begin proper embouchure right away–if they learn on the song flute they can produce a sound without learning this vital skill (it can be done on the recorder without proper embouchure, but is less likely given the sensitivity of the recorder if you have a quality brand and you present it properly).

While I can appreciate you being sensitive to this other teacher’s opinion, I would encourage you to stand your ground as professionally as possible as the teacher in charge of educating these students to the best of your ability. You can respectfully disagree and your reasons are quite valid. Further more, if you do not like the quality of the sound and are fundamentally against using them and you still use them, you will not enjoy teaching them. A teacher dreading each lesson is not going to be a happy lesson–and the students in turn will notice that and may not enjoy the experience as much as you put a smile on your face and push forward. FYI–I started on a recorder when I was in 3rd grade and did just fine. Plus, we are trying to tune students ears to quality tone not accepting mediocre sound. You can teach BAG on the recorder and the kids will get those fingerings without needing the raised holes. Further, just because the outgoing teacher will still be around does not mean you have to follow the “status quo.”

Good luck!

Bridget James
Western Division Representative
Council for General Music Education, NAfME