Themes & Variations
Free Recorder Resources
Recorder Resource Kit 1 - 2
LINK to FREE RESOURCES:  Jan. 25 Free Recorder Resources!
The Recorder Resource Kit is my collection of ideas for teaching recorder to children in Grade 3, 4 or 5. It is an eclectic approach, incorporating aspects of Kodaly, Orff and activities that will help kids learn while they have fun. I like to start recorder in Grade 4 after Christmas break although many teachers use it very succesfully with Grade 3. The recorder unit usually takes 10-12 weeks to complete with two thirty-minute periods per week. The kit provides the teacher with projectables, and reproducible student pages. Although you may photocopy all the student pages and copy the accompaniment CD, you will save a lot of time by ordering “The Recorder Resource Kit Student Book” and CD. The student book AND CD is only $5 in class sets.  In Canada, Themes & Variations sells a recorder package with either a Handel or Yamaha recorder (German or Baroque), the Book and CD for just $10.  If you order 10+ sets, we pay the tax and the shipping.  In the USA, you can order the recorder packages from West Music and other vendors.
Canadian Teachers:
Link to $10 Package - HANDEL GERMAN RECORDER 
Link to $10 Package - Yamaha Baroque Recorder
Recorders, Books and other packages are available! Visit and select Recorders.
USA Teachers - Link to West Music Recorder packages
The Recorder materials are also available as part of our online resource:
For a limited time, new subscribers will get 3 months free!  It's a great time to try out the site!
Down Syndrome:  Students with special needs may find recorder very challenging.  I had a student with Down Syndrome who was a wonderful singer and dancer, but had limited fine motor skills.  He could play one note songs (Just B, Just A, Just G) but playing songs with more than one note proved to be too difficult for him.  I put together a small tub of non-pitched percussion instruments.  He would sing the letter names or solfa with the rest of the class, but instead of playing the song on recorder, would choose a non-pitched instrument, and play the rhythm of the song on the unpitched instrument.  He really enjoyed this adaptation, and often one of the other members of his class would volunteer to play with him.  
Autism:  Some autistic children will need to wear headphones in recorder class, as the high pitch of the recorder can be disturbing.  
Cognitive Delays:  When children with cognitive delays play recorder, the complexity of reading notes, remembering fingerings, tonguing and good tone can be overwhelming.  If I ever see a child trying to play by copying the fingers of the child next to them, I know that they will benefit from using kids notes.  Kids notes have the notes imprinted right on the note head.  The children still see the note placement and read the rhythms so it's a better adaptation than pencilling in letter names.  Kids notes reproducibles are included in the Recorder Resource Kit.
Physical Disabilities:  I've had a student with only one arm.  They could play BAG, but after that, I had them play on a keyboard instead of on the recorder.
Projectables:  The Recorder Resource Projectables includes PowerPoints, Smart Notebook files and QuickTime movies of all the content in the Recorder Resource Kit.  There are PowerPoints and/or movies to teach the theory and history of the recorder.   Kids notes print the letter name right on the note - a huge help to your weak readers. 
Recorder Resource Kit 1 with PPTS:  (Canada)
Recorder Resource Kit 1 with PPTs: (USA)
Apps:  The Recorder Resource Kit is available as an app!
Learn and Play Recorder App has all the songs in the Recorder Resource Kit!
Recorder App ITunes
Recorder App Google
If you have purchased this kit without the Digital Resources you can order the Digital disk separately.
Recorder Kit 1 Digital Resource: (Canada)
Recorder Kit 1 Digital Resource:  (USA)
Sequence of Notes:
This method uses the sequence
BAG in songs 1-8 
E (to involve the right hand early) in songs 9-17
D in songs 18-22
C’ in songs 23-26
D’ in songs 27-30
F in songs 31-36
low C in songs 37-38.  
If you prefer to start with G-E, you can begin at song 9, and then go on to songs 1-8.
Many of the songs are pentatonic, suitable for use in either Orff or Kodaly programs. (Orff and piano arrangements are available - see below!) The students’ sight singing will greatly improve if you sing the songs in solfa, as well as letter names, before playing them.  
The kids enjoy playing along with accompaniments. Since I began using accompaniment CDs, I’ve found that children who have a copy of the CD practice more, and are more focused in their home practice than children who have only a recorder and a book of songs. I don’t use the accompaniment CD in every lesson, and I don’t use it for every song. Usually I will teach the song unaccompanied and when the students can play it well, I’ll introduce the accompaniment. This accompaniment CD has “orchestral” styled accompaniments for the symphonic themes. Your students will enjoy the change in style when they reach these pieces. 
Piano and Orff arrangements are now available for all the songs in the Recorder Resource kit.   These arrangements are great to use in performances!
Au Claire de la lune - Orff Arrangement, by Daphne Price

Au Claire de la lune - piano arrangement, C. Cassils

The Orff and Piano arrangements are especially nice to use in recorder performances.  One year I had my grade 4 classes perform.  Each child got to choose which song in the program they wanted to play.  My little down syndrome student played "Just B" - my gifted students could play any song in the kit.  Most of the students played in small groups.  They sat on chairs in a group, and when it was their turn to play, they stood up. It was a nice way to feature the kids, everyone was able to participate, and it wasn't overwhelmingly loud for our audience.
Recorder 1 Orff & Piano: (Canada)
Recorder 1 Orff & PIano:  (USA)
Fingering Charts:  Would you find a large sized set of recorder fingering charts helpful?

Recorder Fingering Charts:  (Canada)
Recorder Fingering Charts:  (USA)
Do you have combined classes?  For teachers with Grade 4/5 combined classes, we've created duet parts for the Recorder Resource 1.  The beginners will play the songs as sequenced in the kit, and the second year players can play the duet parts.  The duets are now included in the Kit, but if you have an older version of the kit, I'm happy to give you the duet parts.  Send a photo of the teacher's guide from the Kit to to request the free duet parts.
$10 Recorder Packages
For our Canadian Teachers, we still offer the $10 Recorder Package - a Handel or a Yamaha Recorder, The Recorder Resource Student Book AND CD
- order 10+ Packages and we pay the tax and shipping.  With the drastic change in the US dollar, we may have to increase prices, but we're hoping to keep the $10 package available as long as possible!
Link to $10 Package - HANDEL GERMAN RECORDER 
Link to $10 Package - Yamaha Baroque Recorder
Recorders, Books and other packages are available! Visit and select Recorders.
LINK to FREE RESOURCES:  Jan. 25 Free Recorder Resources!
The Musicplay K-6 Curriculum is sequential, affordable and aligns with state and provincial curriculum from Texas to Ontario!  To learn more about this curriculum view our webcast:
While Musicplay is affordable, we realize that some schools have no budget at all except what the music teacher can fundraise for!  Apply for a grant to assist with the purchase of Musicplay!
We've posted sample lessons with audio embedded and video links so you can try a weekly lesson for any grade.  We've also posted the correlations from Musicplay to the Texas TEKS - 100% alignment.
Workshops with Denise Gagne are always fun and very practical.  If you're coming to TMEA this year, plan to attend the showcase sessions with Denise on Thursday/Friday - I'll be sharing different  lessons from Musicplay.  I look forward to seeing you there!
8th Annual Artie and Denise Music Symposium - July 2017, Las Vegas
We're still confirming locations, but hope to have the 8th annual in Vegas, on or around July 18-20th.  Details will follow in the Musicplay Newsletter, and the Musicplay Teachers Group on Facebook.
Canadian Office
#2-4664 Riverside Drive
Red Deer, Alberta  T4N 6Y5
US Office
PO Box 309
Danville, WA, 99121
(real people answer our phones!)
What else is new at Themes?

Easy Music Theory is a music theory book for beginning band, choral, general music classes or for teachers who teach private lessons.  A class set of 25 is only $100 - $4 each.  You can't photocopy a set of theory worksheets for $4!  The teacher's guide includes multiple choice tests that correlate to the sections of the student books - your assessment is done for you!
Easy Guitar Songs - Teacher's Guide and Student Books

The Easy Guitar Teacher's Guide and Student Book  
is a great song collection to teach young beginners to sing and strum on the guitar.  The teacher's Guide includes introduction to guitar, music, lyrics, chords and chord charts. It includes 25 folk songs with perf/acc CD, Digital Resources.  Kids want to play pop songs - so we've included  links to 25 very easy pop songs on YouTube that your students can play with.  Order a classroom kit for $100 that includes a teacher's guide and 25 student books.  The student books/CD are only $5  ~ you couldn't copy the book/CD for that!
Know Your Note Names
Learning the letter names of the notes is a very helpful skill for students who are beginning the recorder.  

Includes 50 reproducible pages of kid-tested activities to help your students learn their note names in the treble and bass clef. A wide variety of reproducible activities are included: create a word, matching, silly stories, crosswords, games and flashcards.
We've created five great apps for iPad or Google devices.  If you have a class set of iPads, volume purchasing is available for these apps.

Vocal Warm-ups for Singers or Choir
This app is based on the warmups book, "Strictly Warmups" by Kerry Heisler.  The warm-ups in this collection are organized into five sets.  Each set includes a physical warm-up, breath awareness, then five minutes of a variety of mid-range warm-ups. 
Vocal Warmups - ITunes
Learn and Play Recorder has everything that you need for your beginning recorder classes.  
Recorder App ITunes
Recorder App Google

Rain Rain Story -  is a sound story book that uses the Rain Rain Go Away song, and a poem for students to accompany.  This app includes ear training activities and instrument exploration.   Rain Rain Story app  (iTunes)       Rain Rain - Google
Note Name Match Game -  10 levels of Memory to match notes with their letter names.  Great for recorder students, piano lessons, beginning band.
Note Name Match Game (iTunes)                 Note Name Memory (Google)
 Learn and Play Recorder 2 is now available for iTunes and Android devices!
This app gives your recorder players 24 songs for two part soprano with optional alto.  Naming notes is reviewed, now with interactive practice!  Counting music is reviewed, with an interactive name the note value activity.
The full score with both regular alto and transposed alto for teachers to project is included.  
 Learn and Play Recorder 2 App (iTunes)     Google Play- Learn Recorder 2
Themes & Variations  •  #2-4664 Riverside Drive  •  Red Deer, AB T4N6Y5
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