Sunday, September 21, 2014

Old Brass Wagon BAG Improvisation Lesson

I have always struggled with improvisation with recorders but this lesson I just taught Friday went beautifully!  I played accompaniment on piano with students while they were improvising and the combination of the movement and the sequence of body percussion, drums, and finally recorders.  It was a wonderful way to begin improvisation experiences on recorder (this was their fifth lesson on recorders and have had 3 previous experiences with B, A, and G. 

  Old Brass Wagon Recorder Improvisation Lesson



  • T. plays melody on recorder, students to find the steady beat using body percussion, repeat with students keeping beat in various ways.
  • Students play 2 finger beat on hand drums, explore playing while moving drums through space
  • T. sing lyrics of song, at end of song, students improvise quietly on drum while T. plays melody on recorder.  Remind students to add space (rests) during rhythms; demonstrate interesting vs. "boring" (all eighths, all quarter note rhythms).  Question and turn and talk with neighbor about what makes these "interesting" and "uninteresting".
  • Refine to improvising during 8 beats only (T. holds up 8 fingers and performs "countdown to visually show beats).
  • Sing the song again, explain improvising rhythm on recorders using only "B".  Sing:  "Circle to the left, old brass wagon, circle to the left, old brass wagon, circle to the left, old brass wagon, improvise on B".  Holding hands circle to the left.  Students perform 8 beat improvisation.
  • Sing, "Circle to the right, old brass wagon.... improvise on A".  Holding hands circle to the right, improvise  for 8 beats.
  • Sing, "In for four, old brass wagon, out for four, old brass wagon, in for four, old brass wagon, improvise on "G" (move out for four beats during final four beats of song).  Walk into the center of the circle for four beats, out of circle for four beats, etc. 
  • "Turn around (in place), old brass wagon, turn around, old brass wagon, turn around, old brass wagon, improvise on B and A."  Improvise on B and A for 8 beats.
  • "Jump up and down, old brass wagon, jump up and down, old brass wagon, jump up and down, old brass wagon, improvise on B, A, G.  Improvise on B, A, and G for 8 beats.

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