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  • Writer's pictureJanis Aston

Recorders for online learning?! No way!

Absolutely! Why not?!

Part 1—Hanukkah Songs

I loved teaching recorder. Yes, the beginning lessons were not pleasing to the ear—mine or the parents. But do you remember when you were learning your first instrument? You just thought you sounded good. LOL Learning anything new is difficult but if taught correctly, building on sequential learning experiences, the rewards of success far out-weigh the challenges. For everyone.

Why not teach recorder online? It can be done. Be creative. Think outside the box.

For me, one of the best ways to engage students in playing recorder was to have great accompaniments. I subscribed to Recorder Classroom and used their fun accompaniment tracks to teach B-A-G. My students played their Bs beautifully along with the track for "Entrance of the Dragon Riders" and finally at the end of their 3rd grade year, they were playing "Ode to Joy" in a program with RC's fantastic soundtrack. I also loved just jamming with them while I played the keyboard and used different accompaniment styles. They loved playing the same songs over and over to different genres. We even played "Guess the Genre" game. We can teach so many things!!

I had my own incentive program long before Recorder Karate. It was similar and worked very well. I highly recommend that you find something that works for your students.

My 3rd and 4th grade students usually played a few songs at the beginning of our Holiday Sing-Along in December. Yes, all of them. Standing on risers. Playing together. From memory. Over 200 students. And it sounded wonderful! I promise!

Following are a few suggestions based on many years of experience. I have even created new products at the request of teachers who have written me with great suggestions and needs for online teaching.


Two traditional songs with accompaniment tracks. Lesson plans, assessments—everything you need to create great learning experiences for your students. Your Level 2-3 recorder students can play while your younger students sing and dance. Narration included.

Teach your students about meter and phrases while learning how to play a song they probably learned in kindergarten. Lesson plans, assessments, and new notes.

A new idea! Encourage students to purchase the Hanukkah Songs for Students—sheet music and accompaniment tracks so they can practice at home and play for family gatherings, either on Zoom or in person!

Oh, Hanukkah!

Level 2 students learn a new note—F. Reinforce AB form, repeated patterns. Continue reading rhythms, melody while reinforcing Coda, interlude, accompaniment.

Both songs can be purchased individually, bundled together, or in the—

This blog post, Part 2, will include several Christmas songs for you to teach your students.

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