Do you remember your first year of teaching recorder? I remember mine, it was a mess! I had music, PowerPoints, and method books but I didn’t know where to begin. It’s me, Jane, from SillyOMusic and if you are new to teaching recorder, I’m going to share with you my biggest gamechanger: sequencing! With proper sequencing, my students found it easy to become recorder rockstars!

Did you just throw a song on the whiteboard and try to teach it, as is, like I did my first year? We didn’t get far. Most students were memorizing pieces instead of reading the overwhelming info on the board. I then spent an entire summer creating new recorder lessons that broke down all the different elements of a piece in order to scaffold student learning. I tried them out the following school year and recorder magic happened! Here’s what I did:

  • Read the lyrics – just have the class read them any old way that sounds natural.
  • Clap the rhythm – display only the rhythm on the board, 1-line staff, no pitches, lyrics, etc.
  • Clap the rhythm while reading the lyrics – display rhythm and lyrics only, do this as many times as needed.
  • Play the rhythm on one note – for example, play the Hot Cross Buns rhythm only on “B.”
  • Review notes on the lines and space – only review notes that are in the piece.
  • Identify the note names in the piece and speak them in rhythm – display complete piece, write letters on notes at first and then take them away.
  • Sing the solfege – display the pitches and sing them.
  • Sing the song – it gets the melody into students’ heads and makes it easier for them to self-correct later.
  • Review fingerings needed for the piece.
  • Finger and play the piece while articulating a syllable like “doo” or “too” – no recorders in mouths at this time.
  • Play the piece on recorders – write letters on notes at first and then take them away.
  • Isolate and break down any problem measures if needed.

I know seems like a lot of steps, but once you get in the habit of sequencing pieces by their musical elements, it will flow naturally! You can check out an example by downloading my FREE Hot Cross Buns PowerPoint lesson here!

Thanks for stopping by!


Jane from SillyOMusic

I've been teaching since 2009 and now live in North Carolina with my husband and rescue dogs. I currently teach early childhood music, but I've taught elementary and middle school music for most of my career. I love creating resources that are fun for the whole class!