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Teaching Recorder in the Illinois Schools Post-Covid

The recorder is a powerful instrument  in the general music classroom and one of the most effective ways to teach music reading skills to young students.  The recorder is an integral part of most district music programs in the Illinois schools.  The Illinois Music Educators Association is a great advocate for music teachers and their students, and we fully support their mission to “provide outstanding musical experiences for all Illinois learners.”

The value of music programs and the important role of the recorder have been highlighted by the events of this past school year.  In many cases, recorder instruction was greatly missed and left a void.  We have been contacted by many Illinois music educators who have expressed their great disappointment at having to eliminate or greatly curtail their classroom instruction.

Macie’s Long Tradition of Service to Music Teachers in Illinois

 Hopefully, Illinois schools will have in-person arts instruction in the fall without  restrictions, but the recorder has a place regardless of how schools resume operations.

Many districts either suspended or limited their music programs as a result of the pandemic.  Many teachers will be fully resuming their recorder programs and will even start recorder instruction in more than one grade.  Macie Publishing Company is here to help meet the challenge by supplying recorders, sequential, student-friendly curriculum materials and teacher support in bringing recorder programs back to full strength!  It has been our honor and privilege to serve Illinois Music Educators for over 40 years.  Macie is a family business founded by Ed Sueta, who taught recorder and band for over 30 years and was an acclaimed clinician.  He dedicated his life to developing curriculum materials to ensure the success of his students and helping teachers enhance the success of their music programs.  We have greatly enjoyed exhibiting at the Illinois Music Educator Conference over the years (the growth is amazing!), presenting professional development sessions and workshops at the conference and most importantly, developing long standing relationships with Illinois Music Educators who we value not only as our customers but as our friends.

Music is the universal subject that touches and reaches students in a way that no other subject can.  In Illinois, as well as across the United States, the trend is to be more inclusive in bringing students into the classroom with varying abilities.  The difference in abilities makes it more important than ever to use sequential recorder curriculum materials that progress in a gentle and systematic way.  We believe that if recorder materials are presented to students the right way, they will be able to achieve their maximum potential.

While the vast majority of students are able to play the recorder, some students, due to learning or physical challenges, may be unable to do so.  The Be A Recorder Star Curriculum’s  barred instrument and handheld instrument accompaniments will enable most of those students to participate and will encourage the broadest, most inclusive participation possible.  We are seeking to further expand the inclusivity of our curriculum by working on a Spanish translation, which will be included as part of the online version at no additional cost.

The Benefit of Having Both an In-Person and Online Recorder Curriculum

teachers materials 

The past year has taught us that things can change dramatically in an instant.  The Be A Recorder Star Curriculum is effective both in person and remotely and will enable recorder instruction to continue regardless of the circumstances.  Even if students are in class but playing becomes limited, content may be learned and reviewed and playing may be done at home.  In fact, the online version of the curriculum was developed well before the pandemic in part to encourage students to practice at home.  Music is like math, language arts, science or any other subject.  If students are going to retain what they are learning in class, they need to review and absorb the material at home.  We are not unrealistic and don’t expect students to practice for long periods of time, but how much better will your students learn if they practice a few minutes one or two times in between classes?  It can be as easy as assigning two or three songs.  In order to encourage at-home practice, the online version of Be A Recorder Star has 50 Play Along Accompaniments with tempo controls.  Students have fun playing along and love the background support!  The accompaniments also help instill a sense of time and pitch.

Be A Recorder Star focuses on the development of music reading skills, which are foundational for students’ continued musical involvement.  If students develop strong music reading skills, their potential is limitless!  The Play Along Accompaniments, “Follow the Bouncing Star” Rhythm Charts, diverse repertoire and Music Theory Pages all contribute to making students great young musicians.  These features also lend themselves nicely to compliance with the Illinois Arts Learning Standards for Music as well as national and school district standards.

A Superior Recorder For the Best Results

In addition to excellent curriculum materials, students must have a superior instrument to achieve the best results.  Macie manufactures Kingsley Recorders with our own proprietary mold.  Kingsleys have a gentle, soft tone quality and are manufactured with ABS plastic, so they are guaranteed against breakage.  The fingering holes for Kingsleys are slightly closer together than most recorders, so that students may more easily finger notes, which results in less squeaks and squawks.  Kingsleys are also resistant to overblowing.

If you are an Illinois music teacher or music supervisor looking to establish or enhance your recorder program, Macie is here to partner with you.  We encourage you to either fill out a Contact Form  or better yet, call us at 888 697-1333.

Macie Publishing Company
Macie Publishing Company