Creating opportunities for people of all ages to learn through music is something TSO Learning and Engagement Executive Producer Jenny Compton is beyond passionate about. So, what happens in 2020 when providing learning experiences in person becomes impossible? You ask teachers what support they need right now. After listening, Jenny’s answer was Recorder Lift Off - an extensive digital educational resource for anyone (yes not just children) in the early stages of learning to play the descant recorder along with a chamber ensemble.
“I don’t want it to be seen as something just for school students. It’s to inspire everyone to experience music making.” Jenny Compton
The TSO aims to have Recorder Lift Off available online in early 2021 – just in time for the next school year. This scaffolded resource allows students of all abilities to move through the resource at their own pace. It has also been designed to keep students engaged in music in the early years, before other school music opportunities become available to them. It is also easily accessible to generalist teachers with limited playing skills, as they can learn alongside their students. And the best thing is it will be available for free.
Recorder Lift Off will be housed on the TSO Website and supports the learning of the first five recorder notes, B-A-G-E-D. Students can learn using the following materials: video of the recorder part only; video of the recorder playing with a TSO ensemble; video of the TSO ensemble only (that can be used for a concert); plus a downloadable PDF recorder part.
The project was born after Jenny attended a meeting with Tasmanian music teacher committee members of TASME early in the pandemic and asked what the TSO could do to help them. Local classroom music specialist Cynthia Howard asked if it was possible for the TSO to create filmed accompaniments to support primary aged students in the beginning stages of learning of the recorder.
Jenny took Cynthia’s idea to composer Maria Grenfell from the University of Tasmania (UTAS) Conservatorium of Music, to ask if advanced composition students would be interested in writing original works for the resource. Maria loved the idea and created an assignment for her students so they could be assessed on their compositions. The understanding with UTAS was that the TSO would then select suitable works for filming and approach and contract the composers separately, at the conclusion of the assessment process - we selected them all! The composers worked with Cynthia to ensure they met pedagogical guidelines and were guided by Maria, Cynthia and Jenny to include the basic elements required. You’ll be able to watch interviews with each composer talking about their process on the Recorder Lift Off webpage.
The project was delivered in two parts. The first part was a professional development opportunity for the UTAS student composers, including a masterclass and final reading session with TSO musicians. The second part was executed in September 2020 and included two filming days with the TSO and recorder player Claire Farrell.
The TSO is proud to provide accessible, high quality music education for all ages. We also launched TUNE IN during 2020 and invite you all to explore this, and other learning resources on our website.
Pictured left to right: Composers Finn Clarke and Claire Farrell with teacher Cynthia Howard on recorders. TSO musicians Matt Goddard, Andrew Seymour, Eloise Fisher and David Nuttall