This video explains why schoolchildren all over the United States were made to play the recorder. Carl Orff, German composer and music encourager and educator, decided that recorders, once mass-produced in plastic form, were a good way to introduce children to music.

I, too, was “forced” to play the recorder. I think it was 4th grade? I lived in Tucson, Arizona, and we had the most amazing music teacher. She was a bit of a hippie, and I learned so much in her music class from 3rd-6th grade. (We similarly had an incredible art teacher, but that’s irrelevant to this story. But with her I learned pottery, pen and ink drawings, linoleum carving and prints, illuminated manuscripts, and so much more.)

I could even play the Chariots of Fire theme on the recorder (and I still can). I think I drove my mom nuts with all my practicing (and just playing extra because I loved it), but she values music very highly, and thus exercised as much patience as she could muster.

As part of our music class, we also played the xylophone. We had quite a decent number of them, from heavier metal (they were like a powder blue color) and wood ones (my fave) to glockenspiels. I loved playing the xylophone, and was one of a group invited to do extra xylophone classes (after school, I think).

We were taught new songs via an Orff music teaching program of sorts. I learned a lot, and loved every minute of it. We even performed for our parents and I think the school. I still remember some of the song parts, because I taught myself to play them on the piano at home too. I could play two parts at once, though I don’t still remember all three parts in full. Muscle memory only goes so far. But I do remember enough parts to have them pop up in my memory from time to time, when sitting at a keyboard.

Anyway, rather than laughter and cringe, this video brought up happy, happy childhood memories.

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