A highlight of the third grade at St. Bernard’s is learning to play the recorder. For many boys, it is their first time playing a musical instrument. And thanks to Ms. Fertel, the foray into playing music is a joyous one.
At the end of Grade II, the boys are introduced to reading music through clapping and singing along to the notes of the treble clef. Once Grade III begins, the boys are each given their own recorder and taught to treat it with great care. It is also quite important to be considerate of others when they are performing. Hands shot up when Ms. Fertel asked if anyone would like to perform a solo in front of the class. All the boys then listened intently as Santi R. performed Hot Cross Buns. Respectful, quiet attention to one’s teacher when he or she is speaking is something the boys know well, but boy is it tempting to blow a single note in a quiet room! Violating recorders are sent to a “recorder graveyard” on top of the piano for a couple minutes, much to their owner’s chagrin.
All in all, playing the recorder with Ms. Fertel is an utterly cheerful experience. The boys seem genuinely sad when class is over. But they perk back up when they realize that their new technology class directly follows music. The life of a St. B’s third grader is a good one for sure.