Saturday, October 15, 2022

The House Around the Corner

 I am always looking for songs that help my recorder students with specific areas - and often end up writing my own pieces to fit their needs. Since switching the starting pitches from BAG to GE I have been delighted that beginning with G and E opens up so much bitonic and tritonic (SM and SLM) songs and once we add low D we have access to some wonderful pentatonic material!  

We are working on some pre-improvisational ideas and so The House Around the Corner was born this week!  My students needed more practice with low E, and they were clamoring for something scary and spooky.  This song can go in various directions - spooky or with a more autumnal/wintry theme. 

I sang this song to them while playing the accompaniment.

Then I displayed these four 4-beat rhythm cards.

As we have been working on something we call the Wizard's Challenge using In the Hall of the Mountain King, I tell the students this rhythm might be familiar. Then I sing it using the word "dude" (which is what we "whisper" when playing recorder) and their little minds are blown that this is the rhythm of the melody repeated over and over.  Then we play the first card (top left) only using "E". Then play through each subsequent card using "E."  Play the top two cards, then the bottom two, then the full 16-beat phrase. 
I change the bordun to quarter notes  E B C B, which sounds very spooky, and we play the full phrase using E. 
Next, change the quarter notes to G. Play full phrase.
Finally, change the 3rd card (four 8th note pairs) to B and have students work on the transition from third card to final card (transitioning from B to E) and then we play the full phrase.
Perform as A (song), B (recorder melody), A again. Students could also play the melody as it is a simple La Do Re Mi song. If you have Carol King's Recorder Routes you could combine this with Who Has Seen the Wind, another LDRM song. 

The students loved it and felt so successful! The next time we will work on improvising beats 2 and 4 of   the third measure and will add zombie movement (as they requested), whistling tubes, flexatone, black scarves, and spring drums. They also want to add gongs, cymbals, and other things so it is sure to be a piece we will record to send home to families. 

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