Our 4th graders have recently begun a new endeavor. They are recorder students! The recorder is a whistle-type woodwind instrument originally made of wood but now made of molded plastic. Since early November, these young musicians have been practicing and perfecting songs through a curriculum called “Recorder Karate.” While this method does not employ breaking boards or recorders, as the name might suggest, students do earn belts that they can place on their recorder, indicating their level of proficiency. Learning an introductory instrument like the recorder is an important part of our mission at Calvin Christian—really! Read on.
Studying recorder allows our students the opportunity to practice their time management and organizational skills. Each Thursday, students turn in their practice records, perform a solo song, and join in the group rehearsal. For nine and ten-year-olds, managing their music and their instrument is a beginning step toward greater responsibility.
Studying recorder presents musical skills in a manageable format. By mastering the reading and playing of three to seven notes, students can play a surprising number of simple songs. The students’ joy at their growing abilities is clearly demonstrated, and this year of recorder lays a solid foundation that prepares them to join our band program in their 5th grade year.
Studying recorder enables students to experience the joy of playing in an ensemble. We all long to be a part of a greater whole. We know this is a longing for the relational way God created us to be in fellowship with him. Making music with others gives us a taste of the fellowship and belonging we need.
Finally, studying the recorder helps students understand the world around them. We are confronted everyday with the ugliness of sin and our own fallenness. Even our recorder practices are filled with squeaks, wrong notes, and faulty rhythms! But we also see evidence of the goodness of our God. Playing an instrument is a way to love and appreciate that goodness of our creative, loving God. He has not left us in a hopeless, fallen world. He upholds creation so it is still full of beauty!
So, if you hear a melodious tune coming from the elementary campus, stop by and listen. It may only be beginning recorder, but in it, you can hear evidence of God’s goodness.