The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and Lou Reed have a lot in common. Aside from the fact that they’ve all helped cement rock and roll as a mainstream musical genre, they also all have a connection to an unlikely instrument, the recorder. From “Fool On The Hill” and “Ruby Tuesday” to “Stairway To Heaven” and “Life On Mars?,” the instrument can be heard in some of our most iconic and beloved songs.
The recorder has an illustrious past. The oldest surviving example dates back to 14th-century Europe. A collection of 76 recorders was listed in the personal effects of King Henry VIII at the time of his death. Handel, Vivaldi and Bach all incorporated the instrument into their compositions. Shakespeare even wrote it into the third act of Hamlet.
Bethany Bennitt, music teacher at Conley Elementary School recently introduced her third-graders to the recorder and they are now moving the instrument’s heritage forward. But it all begins with practice. “If you have a love of practice, that carries over into so many other things in life,” explained Bennitt.
Her entire classroom management plan is based around the habits of rehearsal. “My students are very accustomed to me giving an instruction and then it being an immediate opportunity to practice that instruction. If we get it wrong, we just do it again.”
Within 20 minutes of picking up the instrument, the students were able to play an entire song. Preslee Donaldson, was delighted by her new found skill. “I love it,” she said. She is especially eager to use the online resources available to her through the school district’s investment in the Quaver music curriculum. “I’m really excited to do all the songs on the website,” she said.
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