90 Minutes from Now, You Could be Fully Prepared to
Teach a Rowdy Class of Recorder Students, Even if You’ve
Never Held the Instrument Before.
Is this an Average Lesson for You?
You go to a classroom to collect your students for their recorder lesson. They are so excited by the anticipation of it, and of your presence and attention, that they run as fast as they can to race each other to be first in the room where their lesson is to be held.
When they all arrive, many children are so eager to show you what they have been practicing, they stand in front of you as you walk into the room, playing their recorders, calling out things like, "Listen to what I learnt, Ms Smith!".
A few kids have forgotten their recorders and their books, but it’s no problem because you have brought sufficient spare recorders and books to lend them for the lesson.
Those students who did remember both are rewarded with a merit sticker, which could be as simple as a silver colored star from a roll you bought at the supermarket for $1.50. They are as proud of this sticker as if it were an Honors Degree from Harvard.
You have the class warm up with a few easy pieces that they all know and love. Even the least accomplished student derives pride from playing with the group and the audio backing tracks from the CD player you set up earlier.
Then you move to something new. Your students are enthralled by the material you present to them. They are drawn into the colorful pictures of their textbooks. They start making up little stories about how the characters are interacting with each other, spontaneously expressing their own interpretations of the illustrations.
They are keen to learn and watch intensely as you demonstrate a new note or song. They are having so much fun they don’t even notice how much they are learning.
If you thought they were too excited for just an average lesson, wait till you tell them that they will be performing in the school concert, or at assembly. The adrenalin level will be through the roof. They’ll be scared and excited at the same time. So excited that they’ll become unmanageably silly, until you describe their view from the stage. At this point they will become attentive as the enormity of the occasion dawns on them. They’ll look to you for guidance, and you’ll be able to direct them any way you want as you rehearse their stage positions and run through the repertoire a few times.
And if you let them nominate and vote on a name for their group, their joy and pride will know no bounds.
The Big Gig
Immediately before their performance they’ll be focused and ready. Some of them will display cheeks flushed with excitement. You have prepared the stage, checked that each child has a recorder, and can see a copy of the material they are playing.
You announce their performance.
They enter the stage in a shy silence and huddle together around a music stand, waiting for your signal to begin playing. Their parents are in the audience, which also contains many of their friends and peers.
Your kids are keen to impress, but they forget about that as the drama and magic of the moment unfolds and overwhelms them. You want them to do well, partly for their benefit, and partly because your reputation as a teacher is on display. They play beautifully, as well as you hoped. Perhaps a few wrong notes here and there, but if you have chosen for them pieces that are easy and which they love, their performance flows without a hitch.
The applause is generous. Your students walk off the stage proudly, fulfilled with the experience of having entertained in public. You have succeeded.
If Only It Was Always Like That!
When I was a beginning recorder teacher, my lessons used to be a frustrating struggle for both my students and myself. They found it difficult to comprehend the material with which I presented them, and I battled with them frequently and desperately to keep their interest. They wasted time, made little progress, and fought with each other.
But I Wasn’t the Only One Facing Problems
If I thought it was hard for me, consider how hard it was for the children I was teaching. They felt defeated by the concept of music notation. How could they know which note to play just by looking at the dots on the staff? Obviously, it was my job to explain the system to them. But, despite my best efforts, no less than half of all the students I taught never gained a working ability to read music.
Many kids struggled so long and hard with the system of staves and notes, that even after two years of tuition they still couldn’t distinguish A from B. Much valuable playing time was either being wasted by :
- waiting for half the class to pencil in the names of notes, or else
- quelling rebellions from those having trouble if I tried to move the lesson ahead for the sake of the able few, without catering to the needs of the non-readers.
On top of this, most students felt discouraged and inadequate when they couldn’t keep up with the tempo of the backing tracks on the CDs.
I Didn’t Just Hope that Things Would Get Better
I spent hours scouring the recorder method sections of all the music stores in my city, searching in vain for the perfect textbook that would that presented material in an easy-to-understand manner.
Most of the textbooks on the market had been available for a generation. Many had no CD backing tracks, no illustrations and inappropriate organization of information. For example, a difficult technique would be presented ahead of an easy one, for no apparent reason.
If there was a CD, the tempos of the backing tracks were usually too fast, or else multiple pieces were bundled together in a single track, making it very difficult to skip quickly to the desired song during class.
The Solution Came to Me in a Surge of Inspiration
I arrived home in my car one day, not thinking about anything more consequential then parking neatly. As I stepped out and closed the door, the thought came into my mind, "I’m going to write a book."
Despite my meager teaching and playing experience, the thought developed into a method on how to play the flute. It turned out to be a monumental project that took eighteen months, but was successful enough to give me the confidence and time to produce other books on how to play musical instruments, including the recorder, which was the first instrument I had learned.
(My 53 music instruction books have been on the market since 1983. Collectively they have sold more than 1 million copies. To check my credentials, search on Google for Andrew Scott Progressive).
Most of my titles are still on the market today,
Unfortunately, I sold my interest in the copyrights to most of my titles in 1997, after a dispute with my then publisher, so I no longer receive any royalties.
During the next eight years I gradually spent most of the money I received from selling my copyrights, until I reached the point where I needed to return to teaching.
Naturally, the first textbooks I turned to were the ones I had written myself, but never worked with in a classroom.
I could have borne the ignominy of paying for books that once paid me, but there was a worse problem:
My books under the Progressive label were inadequate for my needs, and for the needs of my students.
Here’s what I found:
The CD tempos are too fast.
There are no note-names inside the note-heads
The overall pace is too demanding.
Many of the exercises are boring.
The ultimate irony was that I didn’t discover those faults until I started using the books myself in my own classes.
I finally realized I needed to rewrite my own method books.
I began with a method for learning recorder.
Slowly, patiently, step-by-step, testing each lesson in my classrooms several times before I committed it to print, I have produced a textbook that I know that your students will love learning from, and which you will find it very easy to teach with.
I Love to Teach
I love to prepare and present lessons that are successful. It gives me huge satisfaction to compose or arrange a song or exercise that kids enjoy and from which they learn an important musical skill. Teaching can be as much fun as learning. If I can make it so for you, my reward is much greater than any profit I could make from selling you a book.
I am proud of Let’s Play Recorder because I’ve seen how easy it is to use, from personal experience. My series of Let's Play books draws on all the experience I gained from working with my previous publisher, plus 5 years in classrooms, so this latest work is the best I have ever done.
3D Fingering Diagrams Are Easy to Follow.
The information contained within Let’s Play Recorder is presented in a manner that kids relate to positively. Because they love what they are looking at, they learn it easily.
Funnily enough, although these 3D diagrams appear beautifully simple and informational, younger children prefer to be shown in person. A few will refer to the diagram immediately, so it's handy to have a picture that's lifelike, not just a row of black and white circles.
After a few months, however, some kids like to check out the diagrams to remind themselves. It's as if they gloss over the information on the first few presentations, then discover new depths in the pages of the book after they've become familiar with other things.
Lyrics for the Songs Facilitate Learning of Rhythms
Each Note is the First Letter of a Creature's Name and Species
Here is why I am confident that your students will love learning the recorder using Let’s Play Recorder, and why you will find it very easy to teach them.
Have you ever known a 5 to 11 year old that didn’t absolutely love cartoons? Deep down, would you have to admit you still enjoy them, too? Now, imagine a series of lessons that takes vivid cartoon illustrations to teach your child how to master playing simple pieces and reading music at the same time. That is what Let’s Play Recorder offers. Colorful characters come alive for children, becoming their friends and transporting them from the page into an exciting fantasy world of adventure and play. In such a stimulating, happy environment kids experience learning as a joyful, fun activity. They want to re-enter that world over and over.
As children encounter these characters in their lessons, they feel as though they are getting to know their pets. It makes your job easier if when your students experience learning as play.
Note-names Inside the Note-heads Means that No-one is Left Behind, Struggling to Read.
If you intend for your students to play solos at the Sydney Opera House accompanied by a full symphony orchestra, you may believe that this feature is a useless gimmick that only serves to encourage dependency and hinder learning.
On the other hand, you might view it as a valuable aid for helping children overcome what is a gigantic obstacle for most of them – the challenge of reading notation.
When we were learning to read words, we didn't begin with Shakespeare or even the daily newspaper. We weren't given multisyllabic words in tiny fonts, and then asked to pronounce the words, remember the spelling and copy the words onto a page.
More likely we were introduced to sentences such as "John can run. Betty can run," in a 24-point font with no serifs.
Students learning music face a two-fold challenge.
- The first is learning to physically manipulate the instrument.
- The second is to interpret the notation on the page in front of them.
Any help that we can give to our students in overcoming these challenges quickly results in earlier music production.
When we remove the obstacle of notation reading, three things happen;
- lessons run more smoothly because everyone is on the same level, and no-one is left behind in frustration to become disruptive;
- students experience fulfillment sooner, as they hear their own music without laborious manual notation first;
- your classes will be ready for public performance earlier than they otherwise would be.
Each New Term or Symbol Has Images and Definitions That Are Easy to Understand.
At the beginner level of music education, there is minimal interest from students in music theory. I have a a love of theory and enjoy explaining the depth of meaning to be found in musical terms and symbols.
Sadly, this interest is rarely found in a fast-paced group of 9 year old recorder students, so I've found that the best results come from a simple comment on the use of each term.
There is always time later in an individual lesson for the eager student to go more deeply into music theory. For a group situation, a brief explanation satisfies most occasional queries.
Nevertheless, each term is rich with meaning, so they are introduced and explained throughout the book with distinctive red headings and short definitions in contrasting blue text.
The Theory of Teaching and Learning - 101
There are three aspects to gaining knowledge: -
- The student,
- The teacher,
- and the process of learning.
Fate deals us the students with whom we are privileged to be able to work. We have little control over the selection of whom we teach, other than to reject those students who aren’t interested in learning, if we’re fortunate enough to be able to do so. We, the teachers, do have control over our attitude and expertise, and the tools we choose to apply our skill.
The process of learning is more successful when we have a tried and practiced system for teaching. Specifically, a textbook that is accessible and user-friendly will help your class time flow smoothly and your students to learn faster.
If you use Let’s Play Recorder in your class, you will be empowered to the extent that you will look forward to you recorder class, secure in the knowledge that you have mapped the happy path along which you will lead your class. Such a happy path that some of them will run ahead of you, and proudly beg your attention to show what they learned on their own since the previous lesson.
You will also experience the feeling of achievement, fulfillment and satisfaction as a successful and popular teacher. Your students will long remember you for the profound influence you had on their lives by introducing them to the love and joy of music.
Here's what one parent has to say:
"My daughter is wanting to learn more songs.
I can't believe it only took a 5yr old 30 minutes to pick up enough notes to play a song.
It has done wonders for her confidence and she really can play the recorder. Because it has been fun as well she just loves learning different songs.
Thank you very much for making music so easy and fun."
Tonia Shaw, Manchester, England
Why No DVD?
Several of my competitors' publications come with a DVD. In my experience, children prefer to be shown how to play an instrument by a real person with whom they can interact and gain immediate feedback and encouragement. The DVDs are great for someone who can't attend regular lessons, but judging by the comments I've received from those of my students who own books with DVDs included, the DVD tends to remain unexplored and unused on a bedroom shelf, or still sealed in its plastic wrapper at the back of the book. The CD, on the other hand, is much appreciated. Kids use it is both a learning and performance aid. You also will notice how much depth and richness it adds to your tuition to have a nicely recorded accompanist at your fingertips for every song and exercise.
What this Method Will Not Do for You
If your class contains children who hate learning the recorder and want to be somewhere else during your lessons, this method will probably not be of much use to you. Nor will any other textbook. The best thing you can do is to point out to them that they don't seem to be enjoying the lessons and suggest that they stop coming and do something else instead. You will rarely get any opposition to this idea.
If their attendance is compulsory, you can give them a choice of following your instructions or doing some quiet activity such as drawing or coloring in, provided they are not disruptive. If they are disruptive, then simply follow your school’s disciplinary and behavioral guidelines.
Here's What You'll Get:
For starters, you’ll get a free version of Let’s Play Recorder to evaluate. The free version is in the form of a PDF, which you can download and print.
Also in the free download are all the MP3 files for each song and exercise in the book.
After you’ve checked out the sample, and you wish to order, you’ll get printed and bound copies of Let’s Play Recorder, each with a CD inside. These will be delivered to your door, ready for you to distribute to your class.
Most teachers I know are more interested in improving the quality of the education they provide for their students than they are in making a little profit for themselves.
Nevertheless, I understand that time is one of a teacher's most precious limited resources, and it's not often convenient to visit your local music store to check out the latest resources from music publishers. Apart from which, teachers deserve to be compensated for the time they put into researching materials for their lessons. So I've set up the pricing structure in such a way that it offers you some incentive for putting up the money in advance to buy books for your students.
The price of this book and CD package is only $19.95, less a substantial discount that increases as you order multiple copies. This enables you to provide copies for each of your students at the suggested retail price, and earn a commission for your trouble.
Your shipping costs and quantity discount will be shown on your checkout page. You will be able to see them before you pay.
Your discount depends on how many copies you order. The more copies you buy, the bigger your discount.
1- 4 copies – 15% off.
5 - 9 copies – 25% off.
10 + copies – 45% off.
Your No Risk Guarantee:
You can download a sample of Let’s Play Recorder, including the audio files. You’ll be able to check it out thoroughly to see how well it will suit your students and your teaching style.
You can also email me anytime with your questions, comments, criticisms or suggestions. Of course, if any copy is damaged in transit, or doesn’t arrive, simply let me know and I’ll send you a replacement.
Option A: 2 – 4 Copies
Let's Play Recorder, Printed Book 1 & CD Pack
Discounted Sales Price, per copy
Option B: 5 - 9 Copies
Let's Play Recorder, Printed Book 1 & CD Pack
Discounted Sales Price, per copy
Option C: 10 + Copies
Let's Play Recorder, Printed Book 1 & CD Pack
Discounted Sales Price, per copy
We shipped to your door
I look forward to helping you with your lessons.
P.S. Let’s Play Recorder is a carefully prepared, step-by-step lesson plan that gives you a complete structure for teaching the recorder in an intelligent and playful manner. You will experience the value of in every lesson you teach for about nine months. After that, you can move to Book 2.