With a brilliant patchwork display as our background, the Recorder Group opened the November Meet and Mingle’s Singing For Fun Concert.
We gave them French - “Ah! Vous Dirai - Je Maman, “ “Au Clair de la Lune “and the beautiful “La Mourisque”. We gave them Australian - the famous “Kookaburra” that we all learnt in Primary School. The Irish got a look in with “Brian Boru’s March” and the Hungarian component was “Hungarian Dance No 5.”
They gave us wonderful clapping and a delicious morning tea. Best of all we got to listen to amazing singing and piano playing, all with three different conductors. Brilliant!
A small but dedicated band met for October Recorder. As chance would have it, each learner this day had a descant recorder, so it was a different but charming sound without the lovely bigger recorders.
“The Skye Boat” song, in three parts was delightful as was “Bransle,” especially when Tomoko took on the challenge of those difficult top notes.
Of course we played some of our favourites but then Janet had some new songs for us - “Annie’s Song”which we recognised from our John Denver days, and “Allemande” a tune from the 16th century.
Multicultural that we are, we finished with Schubert’s “German Dance” and Brahm’s “Hungarian Dance”.
Another productive session and one step closer to the end of the year concert.
Photo: 'Out to Dry' Andrea Stevenson
With our trusty recorders under our arms and sessions of recorder practice in place we were ready for our debut performance at The Coffee Club at the nearby C.W.A hall. Unfortunately, a timetable glitch saw us put off to another day.
Janet got us working on some new pieces and before we knew it we were trying new songs, with different parts and rounds, revising notes and learning new ones so any sense of disappointment was changed quite soon to one of achievement.
Our new audience, the portraits in North East Artisan’s Gallery 2, certainly enjoyed our performance.
From now on Janet will work with The Beginners and Advanced group together. Please check for emails from Andy for times of extra practices on a Monday afternoon.
From Andrea (with Fuji's permission) - a wonderful comment heard whilst learning recorder this month...
"I think my brain works too slowly. The note comes to my mind, but by the time it gets to my fingers it is too late." - Fuji
A wave of excitement/trepidation rippled throughout the Recorder Group as Janet announced “We’ve been invited to play at the Coffee Club over at the CWA Hall in a month’s time.
We quickly set about compiling pieces for our “Practice Makes Perfect” list.
The rounds “Joan Glover”, “Turn the Glasses Over”, “London’s Burning”, “La Mourisque” and “Kookaburra” all got a gurnsey as did “Au Claire de la Lune”, which we’ll play as a duet.
“Au Vous Drai Je Marman” is stunning when played in three partsand who could go past “Brian Boru’s March” especially when we get it right.
A month’s time.
We all went home resolving to practise, practise, practise.
France was aspiring to soccer glory on the world stage. In Benalla, armed with our trusty descants, altos and tenor recorders, Coach Janet had The Beginners and More Advanced Recorder Players ready to take on the French Music Team.
‘Turn the Glasses Over’ and ‘London’s Burning’ provided an efficient warm up and showed good strong team work with all players coming in at the right time and hitting all the right notes.
Then it was the French contingent.
‘La Mourisque’ was a challenge, especially when Coach Janet had us play it again and a little faster. ‘Au Clair de la Lune’ had some effective team plays which resulted in beautiful harmonies. With ‘J’ai du Bon Tabac’ were learnt ‘slurring’ (not to be confused with sledging). The French tried to trick us with the quaintly named, ‘Ah! Vous Durai Je Maman’ but we saw it for what it was - basically ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.’ We played it beautifully - a real game winner!
With the French team defeated we had a short play with the English - ‘The Floral Dance’ had us counting beats and rests. We danced a little with the tricky tempo Hungarians courtesy of Brahm’s ‘Hungarian Dance No 5’ and finished with the beautiful Scottish ‘Skye Boat Song’.
Well done team. Well done Coach Janet.
For our next session The Beginners will start at 10:00 a.m. with The More Advanced coming in at 10:45.
North East Artisans proved to be a warm and colourful venue for Recorder this month. Surrounded as we were by beautiful art work, vases of artistically arranged flowers and fortified by the promising aroma of brewing coffee, the Recorder people warmed up with some now familiar recorder pieces.
Then… “The Hungarian Dance.” with its sophisticated tempo changes and squeeze box feel introduced us to folk music. “Ah! Vous Dirai-Je Maman tricked us with its French title, but it proved to be a nursery song that we knew quite well. When we played it in three parts it sounded amazing!
“The Floral Dance” was our piece de resistance and probably the longest piece we have attempted so far. We ended our session with some favourite songs where we are starting to feel more confident with familiar notes and musical concepts.
A hard working, but very satisfying session.
‘One day, all of this will come quite naturally,’ a perplexed driving instructor once muttered to me as l clumsily tried to coordinate changing gears whilst manoeuvring the car, remembering the road rules and reading the traffic.
And so it is with recorder playing as we are busy coordinating the finger placement whilst reading the notes, working out the tempo and music signs and playing with the other recorder people.
Under Janet’s (non perplexed) tuition ‘London’s Burning,’ ‘Turn the Glasses Over’ and ‘Mon Amor’ are now relatively easy driving. ‘La Mourisque ‘has some tricky signs. Who knew : means do a quick u turn? Some of the signs are actually written in Latin! Looking at you, D.C al Fine! Tricky. ‘Au Clair de la Lune’ showed some good sight reading.
‘Brian Boru’s March’ had a couple of people exceeding the speed limits but this was soon brought under control. ‘We went out’ showed our versatility as we masterfully swapped parts. We are starting to drive this recorder quite well.
From June 13th the Recorder Group will be meeting on the 2nd & 4th Wednesdays from 10 am to 12 pm at North East Artisans. There are some car parking spaces in the car park behind the NEA building in Fawckner
Just a reminder to everyone that the next Recorder Group '4th Wednesday' morning recorder group session is on the 23rd May which is this coming Wednesday. (May is a 'five Wednesday' month).
This Wednesday's session will be the last recorder group session in the U3A meeting room, at least for this year. The recorder group has had to be relocated and is now timetabled meet fortnightly at North East Artisans on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays from 10 to 12 midday. The first session at NEA will be on Wednesday 13th June.
We do hope that this change won't cause problems for recorder group members. We could see difficulties on the 1st Wednesday for recorder group members who attend Playreading. We could also see benefits in meeting on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays for two hours in terms of learning and practice and thought we couldn't see U3A timetable clash affecting current recorder group members on the 2nd Tuesday. We've since noted that Andi has a clash on the 2nd Tuesday with Bushwalkers which may affect her attendance at times. Members may also have other obligations - please chat about this with Janet.
It is said that the playing of a musical instrument has the ability to light up every area of the brain.
Well, light up our brains we did as we worked through ‘La Mourisque,’ counting beats and remembering that the sign : means go back to the start. ‘London’s Burning’ is now an old friend whereas ‘Brian Boru’s March saw us clapping beats and learning 6/8 time. ‘Trio for Recorders’ and ‘Minni Amor,’ both three-parters are starting to sound good, and don’t you admire people who can play top A on a recorder. Phew!!
For Homework we have ‘The Floral Dance’ and ‘Skye Boat Song.’
With no lesson in late April due to ANZAC Day, there’s lots of practice to do in preparation for our lunch hour session on Wednesday 2nd May!
We’re getting through some music,’ Janet was heard to say and that’s what we did! The Beginners and Those Who are a Little Further Along the Recorder Track tackled “La Mourisque” with the added bonus of learning some fine Latin terms.
We were there with “London’s Burning” played as a round while “Horseshoe” saw some good sight reading, not an easy skill when one is still learning the notes and how to play them. “We went out” sounded great and introduced us to dotted notes. “Minni Amor” was played in three parts, and didn’t the tenor and alto recorders sound great with the descant?
The round, “Turn the Glasses Over” had us counting beats and giving us a crash course in fractions. Who knew that Music and Maths were so closely related? We’ll be practising “Winds through the olive tree” for homework, along with our growing song pile.
It is rumoured that someone in the waiting class said, “They’re sounding good, aren’t they?”
I think we are.
Note – The Recorder Group will not be held Wednesday 25th April (Anzac Day Holiday).
Plastic recorders, wooden recorders, mostly descant with a couple of trebles. Recorders newly bought, some old friends and several rescued from the cupboard that stores long ago school gear. Mix in some people who could play, people who could play a little and some who had barely chance to take their new recorder out of the plastic sleeve. Add a skilled, and surely magic, music teacher. Learn some basic music concepts, practise the recorder notes B, A and G and viola! - at the end of the first session we have complete beginners playing Hot Cross Buns and more experienced players tackling accompaniment pieces. And all in one hour!
For the next session, 4th Wednesday, beginners will take the 10-11 time slot and the more experienced players, 11 -12.
We will all keep practising and for motivation we might watch FM’s video via Seldom Sene - A Vivaldi concerto played on plastic recorders and a 1980s Casio keyboard. Fantastic!
Note: Just a reminder that the starting time for the combined practice session on the 4th Wednesday is now 12 midday, with a prompt finish at 1 pm.
The Woodpecker Quartet
Find out more about the Woodpecker Quartet here.
Watch and listen to more of their music here.
Thanks to Janet's partner Tim for the head's up about the Woodpecker Quartet!
Fnd out more about Seldom Sene (we play music which is seldom seen, seldom heard) here.
Watch and listen to more of their music here.
Thanks to group member Andrea for the head's up about Seldom Sene!
Inspired? Off to practice!
At our first meeting the following arrangements were made for the longer sessions commencing on the 4th Wednesday - 28th February - from 10* am to 12 midday:
10 to 11 am Beginners & those who can't read music
11 to 12 midday Intermediate/+ and can read music
*Please note - on some timetables the starting time for the 4th Tuesday is 9.30 am. The time was confirmed as 10 am at our first meeting.
‘I wish I hadn’t given up learning …music, the violin. piano, recorder, guitar…’ Our new Recorder Group convenor Janet Douglas says she would be very wealthy if she received $1 every time she heard an older person say this! Janet believes it’s never too late to learn music or to learn a musical instrument and considers the recorder a good choice as it is such an accessible instrument. A group for beginners to intermediate, there will also be scope for more proficient users of the recorder to play together and to help to mentor others. Unlike most U3A courses, there will be homework. You will need to practise--there’s no other way to learn and improve!
The program committee has for some years identified a gap in our program in the ‘enjoy and learn music together’ category a la the ‘ukelele’ and ‘bell ringing’ groups offered by some U3A groups. Their ears pricked up when someone suggested having a recorder group. The quest for a person interested in teaching the group has happily resulted in local music teacher and violin player in local chamber music and other groups, Janet Douglas, agreeing to take the group. Janet is passionate about music and considers this recorder group will also offer participants side benefits including improved immune systems and mental wellbeing.
Members will need to bring their own recorder - some members may need to purchase a recorder if they don’t already have one. Janet will provide advice about sources.
None required, just an interest in learning to play the recorder and willingness to practice. The group will also cater for those who have prior knowledge (even in the distant past) and provide the chance to improve for people who currently enjoy playing.
Days and times.
Introduction to the Course and Practice Sessions during the year - U3A Meeting Room - 1st Wednesday 12.15-1.15pm commencing Wednesday February 7, 12.15 - 1.15 pm, U3A Meeting Room.
Main Session in U3A Meeting Room - 4th Wednesday 10am-12 noon commencing Wednesday February 28 10 am to 12 midday. (Janet may schedule smaller sessions within this timeslot).
About the Recorder Group
‘I wish I hadn’t given up learning …music, the violin. piano, recorder, guitar…’ Music teacher Janet Douglas says she would be very wealthy if she received $1 every time she heard an older person say this! .Janet believes it’s never too late to learn music or to learn a musical instrument and considers the recorder a good choice as it is such an accessible instrument.
In 2019 the group has been scheduled to meet in the U3A Meeting Room on:
2nd Wednesday 9 - 11
4th Wednesday 10 - 12
The group may also meet for additional practice sessions on an as needs basis.
Convenor's Contact Details
0427 621 700