Rosemary Babichev, one of our wonderful peripatetic music teachers has recently been working alongside Phase One, teaching students how to play the recorder. The plan is for all children in Phase One to have recorder lessons during class time. They will learn to play simple folk songs, and the basics of music reading and composing.

Rosemary has been using the Kodály method of teaching, a concept developed by Zoltán Kodály a composer and music educator from Hungary.

Cobler Cobler Mend my shoe

“Saying and clapping traditional rhymes like ‘Cobbler, Cobbler mend my shoe’, and singing them to so, mi, la; and only then, learning the technical demands of producing the right notes on a recorder, is proving an enjoyable and effective way to introduce children in Phase One to playing and writing their own music. “

Rosemary explains that the method “uses ‘singing names’ first used  in 11th century monasteries in Italy and hand signs invented to teach mass choirs in Victorian England, a musical language that describes relationships between notes instead of fixed pitches. The children develop their audiation, or ability to ‘hear’ music in their minds, a key skill that most people aren’t particularly conscious of having. “

This way of teaching makes playing the tune they know how to sing on the recorder or any other instrument, or writing down their own tunes in a simplified notation, much faster and raises their awareness of the way melodies work. It is the first stage on the way towards writing and reading music on the usual five line stave with clefs.  Children have names for the parts of a melody that make the whole, and will be able to sing or play it however they wish to, quietly or as loud as possible.”

All recorder players in Phase One are welcome to come to Monday Lunchtime Orchestra 12.25 – 12.55, Studio 2, where they can practice the songs they know, learn some new ones and try out other instruments – violins and glockenspiels.

Children having group lessons have been given school recorders they keep in their trays at school, and have the opportunity to practice on them on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  If you would like at to buy your child their own recorder – they are one of the most inexpensive and durable instruments, and can sound very beautiful – I am happy to show them how to play their first notes on Mondays from 12.25 – 12.55.  Recorder lessons are also available twice weekly during lunchtimes in Phase Two.’