Keeping It Simple was written to use in a general music classroom where you have a wide range of abilities. Finding material that is suitable for the tme alto recorder beginner player can be challenging, especially with limited amount of classroom time allotted in teaching this new concept. The pieces are short with a limited range in each voicing. To assist in learing the notes, a fingering chart has been added at the end of the book.

At our school, we teach soprano recorder in grade four, not as a unit, but integrated within the curriculum. Students in fifth grade may or may not choose to begin learning the alto recorder. If you have time to add alto recorder in your fourth grade curriculum, go for it! The challenge is to keep the rest of the class busy and motivated who are still struggling with soprano fingerings and intonation. What typically happens is: uour more advanced players are ready and able to learn new fingerings, which leaves your weaker players still on soprano. With that in mind, I have intentionally kept the soprano recorder part very simple to assure success for all Players.

This book offers several strategies for teaching. First you have to decide whether you will be teaching alto recorder to the entire class or to those who have the desire and or ability to do so. After you have made that decision, there are other choices to think about:

  1. Teach the same piece to the whole class, going back and forth between the alto and soprano.
  2. Divide the class into two groups: one SR and one AR. Rotate between the two groups assisting them as needed.
  3. Divide your class into ensemble groups to work on the same song from this book, being sure there are at least one or two alto recorder players in each group. Provide practice time and periodically do a simultaneous practice.
  4. Divide your class into ensemble groups to work on different songs from this book. Again, be sure there are at least one or two alto recorder players in each group. At some point, ask the individual groups to "share" their progress in class.

This is also a wonderful opportunity to teach score analysis. If the class is working on the same piece, typically, I begin by showing the music on a transparency, making sure students are very clear regarding how to read the score. We tike time as a class to analyze the score: point out like phrases, second endings, repeat signs, read rhythms, count measures, key and time signature. nerv fingerings. After I am confident they know how to read the score, the students will then get their own piece of music from which to work.

The unpitched percussion parts become the "carrot" for the students. I will allow the unpitched percussion parts to be added after the recorder parts can be played accurately. Students are also encouraged to learn at least two parts of every composition: Either the alto recorder or soprano recorder, and the unpitched percussion. Some students are able to learn all of the parts, while others will struggle with one part. Allow them to work at their own level.

I hope you find these selections to be as motivational as they have been for my students and I wish you much success in your classroom.

Chris Judah-Lauder, 2002