Recorder vs Song Flute
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- This topic has 4 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 10 years ago by nafmeadmin.
May 3, 2013 at 6:04 pm #23689
I posted this question on the board for another topic regarding starting a recorder program, but since it is a slightly different topic and I haven’t received any responses, I thought a new thread might help to get some insight. I apologize for the double post!
I have been teaching 4-8 instrumental music for the past four years, and will be taking over the 2-3 grade general music classes next year for the first time at this site. The current teacher (who will still be on site next year) does a unit using song flutes for about three months of the 3rd grade curriculum, and I feel pretty strongly about switching over to recorders instead of song flutes next year. The current teacher, who will still be at the school in a decreased role next year, and I just had a long conversation about song flutes vs. recorder. Does anyone else have experience or opinions about one as opposed to the other?
I am Orff trained and have done work with recorder at previous school sites – I think they sound much more musical and are a recognized instrument in their own right. There are some great books and repertoire I am familiar with, I have a lot of my own material, and there are lots of recordings of recorder ensembles I could share with my class. I’m not convinced that the larger instrument will be a problem for 3rd graders – I will wait to start until probably late October.
My colleague feels passionately that the raised holes (as opposed to holes flush with the instrument) and the smaller size make things easier for the kids to play. I just can’t help but think that they look, sound, and feel like cheap whistles from a toy store – and notice that some of the kids really treat them that way.
I would love to add more voices to this debate before I make my decision regarding curriculum for next year! I know the cost will be slightly more, but the different seems insignificant to me.May 11, 2013 at 5:28 pm #23810
I’ve used both and it’s really personal preference. Do what’s easiest for the students and for you.May 23, 2013 at 2:31 pm #24267
2-3 students will have a difficult time with covering the recorder holes, especially grades 2. If the second graders could hold off for a year I think the recorder will be fine when they are 3rd graders, especially if you introduce it mid-year.May 29, 2013 at 3:33 pm #24321
Thanks for your comments – I would love to hear more from anyone who has experience with both!
Sorry if I was unclear, bwhitehead – no recorders for 2nd grade. This unit would just be for 3rd graders.June 5, 2013 at 2:21 am #24577
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.”
Western Division Representative
Council for General Music Education, NAfME
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