how to play ‘mary had a little lamb’ on the recorder (or try to, at least)

how to play the recorderWe tried.

Maybe a bit too hard–or maybe not hard enough–depending on how you look at it.

But we have been rockin’ the ole recorder over here for a few weeks, trying our darndest to be musical and to catch a wee tune.

When the kids play, I mean really play, they sound good.

To themselves.

And I remember that feeling quite vividly: being young and wishful and banging out what I though was a serious masterpiece as I tickled the ivories on our piano at home. To me, it sounded like a work of art, like the angels had taken over my hands and that I was sharing my gift with the world–or at least my family.

And neighbors.

But now, as a parent and watching my 0wn three littles do the very same thing, I can only wonder how my mom managed to hold onto her sanity with four girls pounding those keys like there was no tomorrow, playing Heart and Soul, Chopsticks, and our own creations.

So when I was just about ready to throw in the white flag, I decided to switch things around a bit.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • How to Play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the Recorder (or try to, at least. . . ): Instead of fighting the kids’ urges to play their own little diddy every other minute, I gave them a little bit of a focus.

Don’t get me wrong–they did a whole lot of free play, solo creative music writing, walking around the house and yard and bedroom playing their songs for hours on end.


But when I felt like I needed to rein in the talent, I did some research, pulled together my own (pathetic) recorder-playing abilities, and jumped on the opportunity to sneak in a little learning into my kiddos’ little recorder-playing careers.   I thought it would be helpful for the kids to learn a familiar song on the instrument, so we started with teaching them how to play Mary Had a Little Lamb on the recorder.

It wasn’t easy, and we’re still trying.

I shared the total how-to’s over at the Melissa & Doug blog, on the Rockin’ Out With the Recorder piece. Please check it out for a close-up on the notes and a little bit more about why the recorder is a darn good stepping stone instrument for kids.

Here’s a close look at our rendition of the actual song, Mary Had a Little Lamb, for the recorder:

playing the recorder


And definitely take a look at how elementary school music teacher, Susanne Byrne, explains the connections between music and math.  She also shares some ways parents can develop their children’s music skills at home; she’s got some worthwhile ideas for sure, and it’s a super-quick video from Mom’s Homeroom.

I just feel like it’s always important to be reminded of ways we can make learning fun and build a strong foundation for learning under our own roofs, even if we’ve got to pop a Tylenol or two along the way. . .

Bring on the music! Here are some of our favorite ways to bring music into our home:


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  1. says

    My oldest learned how to play the recorder last year for school. :) This year… it’s the clarinet we are hearing around the house. My kids love anything that is loud and musical! :)

    • amy says

      Jen!!! NO way!! You’re totally moving toward the real-deal instruments, my friend!! Good luck with the clarinet–and when we get there (if ever!) I’ll definitely reach out for some sanity advice! Thank you thank you for reading, and HUGE thanks for taking the time to write!

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