It’s beginning to look a lot like…well, normal. Todd third and fourth graders are preparing to begin playing instruments at the school this fall and soon we will hear the sounds of flutes, cellos and saxophones coming from the music room. After a year of no instrument lessons, the school is getting ready to have students playing again and this week they have been learning about the different types of instruments they will be able to select.
The classes have been exploring the strings, woodwind and brass instruments in different groups. One group was in the school lobby, learning all about string instruments – violin, viola and cello, while the other cohort was outdoors, trying out woodwinds and brass instruments such as flute, clarinet, trombone and trumpet. Students also each had a sheet of paper where they could circle which instruments they liked and which they did not like as much.
Recently, students in Christina Hurley’s fourth grade class, who did not have the chance to play instruments this year, had the opportunity to have a deeper look at their music options and they all seemed eager to learn about them. They asked all types of questions, such as “is playing the violin similar to playing a guitar?”
“Out of all the string instruments, the guitar is closest to cello,” music teacher Nicole Pearson explained.
After playing short samples for the students using the string instruments, she showed the students how to hold the violin and viola and how to sit properly on the chair when playing the cello. Students took turns plucking the strings and trying out the various instruments.
“I don’t think I’m going to choose the violin,” said Matthew, one of the students. “I tried it and it’s too confusing. I think I might go for the trumpet.”
Outside on the sidewalk, music teacher Gwynne Whitman gave the students paper bags filled with mouthpieces of various woodwinds and after demonstrating the different sounds they make, the students tried blowing into the mouthpieces themselves to try them out.
“I tried the clarinet so far but I already know I’m going to choose the violin because I already play it and I like it,” said Addison. “I started taking lessons this year. At first it was tricky but then I got the hang of it.”
Another student, Avani, seemed to gravitate towards the flute.
“I tried the clarinet and it was kind of difficult and complicated to shape your lips to play the mouthpiece, but playing the flute mouthpiece just came very easily to me, and it has a very pleasant sound,” she said.