Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Recorders: Hallelujah, the counter is clean!

I finally got rid of this recorder mess!  It seems that my counter and desk have been over run with recorders and other materials for the last 3 weeks and I am happy to be rid of it.

I finally handed out the last recorder order!  I do this a bit differently than many of the teachers I know but it seems to work well with my kids.  After collecting all of the orders at the beginning of the year (you can see my order form here) I place an order with West Music and my school cuts a check using the money that is in my account.  

Once the order arrives, I sort them and attach each students order form to the recorder and write their name on the plastic sleeve.  I don't waste my time trying to put their name or initials on the actual instrument because it tends to rub off.  After everything is sorted I hand them out when their class comes to music.  This gives me a chance to go over caring for the instrument and rules about when to play their recorders (i.e. not on the bus!).

It has taken me awhile to get this process down to a science and it works for me.  What are some of your recorder ordering tricks?  Is there something you do that makes it easier to distribute to your students?  


  1. Emily,
    It is such a good feeling when the recorders are in and ready to distribute. If your students are like mine, they have been asking, "Are the recorders here?" They are always so excited!

    I am so lucky that our students pay a fee when they register, which includes the cost of their recorder & book. I don't have wait for forms & money to be turned in before starting an order. I have a chart set up with each class roster and columns for them to check which color recorder they want. I let them sign up the first or second day of class, then I tally the numbers and start the paperwork (requisition, etc.) for the order.

    When the recorders arrive, it still takes forever to write the names on the bags, etc. I also cut their name out & tape it on the mouthpiece. That lasts much longer than writing in Sharpie. In addition, I hate those stickers on the back of the bag, and am so obsessive that I peel them off. I also take out the fingering chart that gets in the way of inserting the recorder. Since my students purchase a book, they can reference that for fingering.

    We keep the recorders in a class bin, and I do not allow them to take them home until we have worked on getting a decent sound for a couple of classes. I like to keep the parents happy. :)

    Once students are allowed to take the recorders home, the class bin travels back and forth to the classroom. That way students can put their recorders in the bin at the beginning of the day. Since many of my classes go to P.E. prior to music, it helps to keep their recorders in a class tub. One student is the recorder "helper" each week and is in charge of getting the bucket to class and then distributing the recorders to students at the beginning of class. They simply sit on the floor in front of the class, call out a name, and put the recorder on the floor. They continue calling names, while students come forward to retrieve their instruments. It only takes a minute, or two.

    One other tip is that I tell the students to always put their recorder in their backpack after they practice at home. That way, it will always be at school. I can send them to their locker, if needed, but I can't send them home. :)

    Oops! I didn't mean to write a book. I guess I got as excited about recorders as my students.


    1. I wish there was a way to collect a fee up front, that would really make things much easier and everyone would have a recorder of their own. Alas, I have to rely on a class set and clean them everyday. I like the idea of hanging onto them until they have practiced a few times. I tell my kids that if they want their parents permission to practice at home then they have to make sure and practice great musicianship. This means not making annoying sounds on purpose. :)

      I use the backpack reminder with my kids too. One benefit of collecting my fees is they can order 2, one for their desk and one for home. Oh, I hate those fingering charts too. If the company knew what a waste they were, they could stop printing them and probably save some money. I don't find them practical for the kids, they are small and hard to read, so I give them a copy in their recorder packets.

      Thanks for commenting!


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