Music for good ears;Primary;Curriculum reviews

17th December 1999 at 00:00
RECORDER BOPPERS STARTER PACK. By David MosesTinderbox Music pound;25 including CD

FUN AND GAMES WITH THE RECORDER. Translated and adapted by Peter Bowman. Published by Schott

Three tutor books pound;4.95 each. Three tune books pound;2.75 each. Teacher's commentary book pound;3.95

A most enlivening sight for me in recent years was a little boy in a school in south London punching the air as if he'd scored the winning goal in the cup final, but in fact it was because he'd successfully played a piece from David Moses's Recorder Boppers.

Moses is one of the most inventive and engaging musicians working with young people today. His aim in this newly-revised pack is to use immediate aural rewards to inspire absolute beginners to make their own music.

None of the pieces here requires more than four notes. But the arrangements on the CD - ranging in style from Russian folk and Viennese waltz to reggae and samba - provide a sustaining accompaniment which enables the novice to feel part of a professional ensemble. There are photocopiable sheets with the player's parts in clear notation, and the separate explanatory notes are lucid and encouraging enough to get teachers playing too.

Schott's new primary recorder tutor was originally published in Germany about 10 years ago. It combines an orderly thoroughness with a pleasant light touch. While there are many opportunities for exploring different sounds and timbres and for a certain amount of improvisation, these are built into a larger structure that takes children, over the course of three books, to competence in the playing of two octaves, including accidentals.

Bright colour pictures and clearly-spaced staff notation make the books attractive to the eye.For the ear, there are many pieces, like Duo For Good Earsin the second book, which engage two players in the task ofsounding as if they are one.This all-round musicality -combining listening and performing skills and encouragingreflection on how and whyparticular sounds are required - is a strong feature throughout. The method is different from David Moses's, but both willhelp produce fluent and spirited musicians.

Tinderbox Music, 93 Stradella Road, London SE24 9HL. Tel: 0171 274 5314

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