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Music Teacher
Old 01-19-2011, 08:49 AM
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I'm so sorry you teach in a school like this - it means your children aren't learning to think as well as children who have music instruction.

I'm going to suggest something that will make your classroom neighbors hate both you and me, but at fifth grade level, you want to get those brains working and the best time for learning to play an instrument is from ages 3 - 10.

Recorders. Flute-a-phones if necessary (the fingering patterns are easier for flute-a-phone and they are a little less expensive.)

Trust me, you can learn along with the students. Don't spend a lot of time on the names of the notes. More importantly, teach "a note on this line (or space) is played this way". They get all caught up in the names and don't want to learn to really read the music. Musicians don't think, "That's an A, my fingers go here;" they think, "Second space, here". Play familiar tunes - "Hot Cross Buns", "Mary Had a Little Lamb", etc. You will be amazed how excited they will get to find out they can play something they recognize. This is why learning to play an instrument helps develop the brain - you are thinking, listening, and placing fingers in proper places all at the same time.

There are those purists who say not to use the flute-a-phone because it is a toy and the recorder is an instrument. Well, true. However, if it means all your students can get started making music, you use what you have to.

Another idea is to teach them to read rhythms and use "found percussion" to play them (we're talking body percussion, desks, pencil boxes for shakers, etc.)

There are lots of YouTube videos that may help you with this.
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