These short soprano recorder duets (range of E, D, G, A , B, C’, D’) are appropriate for the general music classroom or ensemble setting. In most of the songs it is obvious that one part is easier than the other, thus providing an appropriate challenge for both the basic beginner and the more advanced player. Another plus is the publisher gives you permission to photo-copy the student pages, and each of these has a space for the student’s name.

A teacher and student score are provided because often a beginning player finds the full score to be a bit overwhelming. The teacher’s score indicates the range for each piece. The unpitched percussion part is placed at the bottom of the student page, allowing for an easy “read”. The two parts within each piece may intentionally focus on a different range which lends itself to different skilled levels.

The percussion parts are scored lightly to help keep the piece together. This encourages the students to work as an ensemble, and to be independent of an outside source such as a recording. Most of the songs are simple rhythmic patterns with some changes in the B Section. Do encourage all students to take a “try” at the percussion part and give them permission to look at these as a beginning point, from which students may add, change, and edit to make it “their” composition. Some hand drum parts indicate specific strokes to be used. (See Hand Drum Strokes). Others are open to the discretion of the player. Remind your students to be sensitive to timbre and dynamics.

This book offers several strategies for teaching. First you have to decide whether you will be teaching a particular song to the entire class or have the groups work in ensembles.

Next, consider these options:

  1. Teach the same piece to the whole class, going back and forth between the two parts.
  2. Divide the class into two groups: one SR1 and one SR2. Rotate between the two groups assisting them as needed. Add the percussion last.
  3. Divide your class into ensemble groups to work on the same song from this book, being sure there is at least one SR 1 and SR 2 player in each group. Add the percussion last.
  4. Divide your class into ensemble groups to work on different songs from this book. Again, be sure there is at least one SR1 and SR 2 player 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, display the music on a transparency, making sure students are very clear in reading the score. Take time as a class to analyze the score: point out like phrases, second endings, repeat signs, key and time signature, new fingerings, read rhythms, and count measures. After you are confident they know HOW to read the score, give the students a copy of the music.

Finally, I dedicate this book to my delightful nephews and nieces (all from the Midwest), from which the names of the songs are based. (with the exception of “Whatever”).

Chris Judah-Lauder, 2004