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Teaching Recorder in the Michigan 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 Michigan Schools.  We fully agree with the beliefs enumerated by the Michigan Music Educator’s Association:

Beliefs

  • We believe the study of music allows us to develop aesthetic sensitivity, self-expression and creativity, and to build community, preserve and honor cultural heritages, and celebrate life.
  • We believe this is best accomplished through comprehensive study of music involving performing, creating, reading, listening, moving and responding to music.
  • We believe music education is most effective when there is sensitivity to scope and sequence of music.
  • Therefore, we believe a high-quality, comprehensive, inclusive music curriculum is a vital part of every students’ education at all levels.

The value of music programs and the important role of 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 Michigan music educators who have expressed their great disappointment at having to eliminate or greatly curtail their recorder instruction.  Hopefully,  Michigan schools will have in-person arts instruction in the fall without restrictions, but the recorder has a place regardless of how schools resume operations.

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

Given the inability to teach the recorder this past year, many teachers will be starting recorder instruction in more than one grade.  Macie Publishing Company is here to help meet that 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 Michigan Music Educators for over 40 years.  Macie is a family business founded by Ed Sueta, who taught recorder and band for over 30 years.  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 Michigan Music Conference dating back to the years when it was held at the University of Michigan’s Student Union, presenting professional development sessions and workshops at the conference and throughout the state. And most importantly, we have enjoyed developing long-standing relationships with Michigan 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 Michigan, as well as across the United States, there is a trend 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 in 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 those students to participate and encourage the broadest, most inclusive participation possible.

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

 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.  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 in an effort to get 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 that 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 Michigan’s standards, benchmarks and grade level content expectations 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 recorder to achieve the best results.  Macie manufactures Kingsley Recorders with their 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 a Michigan 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.  We will send you a complimentary Kingsley Recorder and trial code for the online version of Be A Recorder Star, which will enable you to review and try the curriculum.  We are happy to work with your budget and generate multiple quotes, so that you can see how affordable and valuable Be A Recorder Star will be for you and your students.  We are always here to help you in any way we can.  We hope you will use us as a resource!

Macie Publishing Company
Macie Publishing Company