WHAT HAS PLAYING RECORDERS GOT TO DO WITH MINDFULNESS?
One of the coolest things about mindfulness is that it appears in everything we do, provided we do it mindfully. As part of our Stop, Breathe & Think project, Year 2 have been learning how to play the recorders with their talented Ms Ključarić. Playing recorders is all about paying attention to your breath and focusing on the moment, so why not try it? This is what we learned about their extraordinary activity...
1) What’s this new instrument Year 2 are learning to play?
This school year our Year 2 pupils started learning to play recorders. Recorders are among the earliest woodwind instruments, and are forerunners of the modern flute.
2) How often do you practise it in your class and how does that go? We practice once per week, during our Music lessons or during Study Time. My pupils have an extremely positive attitude towards learning how to play recorders and they always wear a big smile on their faces while preparing their recorders for playing.
3) You mentioned it has something to do with mindfulness and the Stop Breathe and Think project. What’s the connection?
Playing any musical instrument can be a great way to help children's development. Children develop their fine motor skills, listening skills, memory, and reading skills. Playing an instrument teaches children to listen to each other, to stay focused and disciplined, encourages creativity as it allows them to explore different sounds and rhythms, builds self-esteem, it improves physical coordination and hand-eye coordination, patience and perseverance.
Different mindfulness and breathing activities took part in our project Stop Breathe and Think. Practicing both, mindfulness and playing recorders, improves respiration and develops strong lungs, pupils learn how to control and coordinate their breathing, as well as tongue movements. Moreover, it reduces stress and teaches pupils how to stay focused, relaxed, to slow down and enjoy the moment. These are very important skills to have in the fast-paced world today, not just for our children, but for all of us.
4) What are the benefits of playing together as an orchestra?
Playing together as an orchestra is very beneficial for children. In an orchestra, you’re part of a team, working towards a common goal. And we all know that 'Teamwork Makes the Dream Work' . When playing together, pupils are motivated and they challenge themselves. Also, children develop their sense of responsibility. Every child is responsible for their recorder and after every music session, we clean our instruments and place them carefully in our Recorders Area.
We are an international school and our pupils' English language skills are not on the same level. But when playing in our orchestra, that does not matter. All the pupils feel comfortable, successful and good about themselves, because as Stevie Wonder said, 'Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand'.
Plus, playing in an orchestra IS A LOT OF FUN ! Some of the most beautiful memories from my childhood are from the time I played with my friends in our music school orchestra.