Recorders transfer vocal reading skills to instrumental reading, developing fine motor skills at the student's pace.


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Song Formats
Pitch Warm-ups
Rhythm Warm-ups


Lesson Templates

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Additional Information
  • Charts
  • Beginning Songs
  • Class Introduction Lesson
  • Setting up Recorder Center/Station

CHARTS - Recorder charts are color coded and correspond to the pitch colors in the beginning songs.

For making identification easier, paste the charts on a matching color construction paper and laminate.

Post charts in your room(s). As a center, post charts lower, allowing students to sit on the floor with the charts in their view.

Recorder Charts Display

Recorder station in music cottage, Cumming, GA
(see room layout below)

BEGINNING SONGS - The beginning recorder songs use color pitches which correspond to the color fingering charts. Once the fingering of a pitch is known, the color returns to the traditional black. Beginning songs spiral fingering skills towards mastering the C major scale. Students are eager to play tunes they sing, thus the beginning recorder songs are known by most students in the third through fifth grades. Once the five beginning songs are mastered, the student may choose to play the class vocal selection, or, any selection from Music You Can Read®, as eighty-five percent of the "letter name" formatted songs are in C major. All new pitches will require the teacher's guidance.

There are several objectives during the class introduction to playing the recorder:

  1. posture
  2. hand positions
  3. breath control
  4. covering the pitch holes correctly
  5. identifying the correct chart for the colored pitch
  6. good practice habits
  7. earning certificates

The first four objectives are basic skills known to all music teachers, here we address objectives five, six, and seven.

Using an overhead projector with a color transparency of the first song, ask the students to identify the first pitch and it's color. Which recorder fingering chart matches the color of the first pitch. "If the pitch was the color red, what color chart will show the fingering?" Demonstrate the left and right hands shown on the chart. Direct the students attention to the 'T' hole, for the thumb. "Who knows what the 'T' identifies?" While finding and demonstrating how to play the pitches in the first song, the students should mimic your demonstrations:

  1. What color is first pitch?
  2. Which chart shows the fingering of the yellow pitch?
  3. Which hand are we using?
  4. Show correct fingering.
  5. Students show correct fingering.
  6. Play pitch for four beats.
  7. Students play pitch for four beats.

Repeat for each pitch of the first song. As each new pitch is mastered, add it to the melody until the melody is complete. Play entire song! You may continue class lessons for the remaining beginning songs, demonstrating the new pitch colors and color pitches changing to black, or, we recommend directing the students to the recorder center and how to complete the beginning songs at their own pace, during center time.

Good practice habits: (posted in your classroom)

    • Say it
    • Finger it
    • Play it
    • Evaluate - rhythm, phrasing, tone quality

CERTIFICATES: Students earn certificates for each song they master on the recorder. Earning the beginning five certificates earns the right to choosing a selection of their own. Certificates can be earned by the entire class, or individually during center time.

HINT: Once the student masters the beginning songs, ask them to play the C major scale, ascending and descending. You my give a few hints, however, based on skills they already own, it is best for the student to discover the solution. Their eyes will light up!


  • Select an area in your classroom where the recorder charts are posted, or set up music stands where students can practice in pairs.

  • Copies of the beginning recorder songs should be available at the center, or placed on each recorder music stand. (when laminated on color construction paper, center copies will last the whole year)

  • Take home black and white copies of the beginning songs should be available.

Music Classroom Trailer Layout

Note the area where students earn certificates.

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