Music Education Expo 2013: Day One: The rumble over Music Hubs

Having pored over the Arts Council website today to top up my Hub knowledge, I was reminded of one teacher’s remark during the Q&A with MP Ed Vaizey on Wednesday about the provision of ‘meaningless one year’s tuition’. The overall success of a hub including the provision of pathways for continued support after a limited period of tuition seems to depend on the  bid winners’ (mostly music services) ability to develop a strong ‘hub vision’ and make innovative partnerships with organisations in their local authority. This undoubtedly doesn’t happen over night  but  there was much talk to suggest that it simply doesn’t  happen much at all, with schools and other organisations far from included, ‘pushed out by the music services’ were the exact words from one disgruntled music teacher. Other issues raised included the desire to see details of failed bids, and a concern that the consultation period for deciding on the winning bids was too short.

Arriving late but with an inspired vision for music hubs, Mr Vaizey did appear, at times, reluctant to claim responsibility for the practical details beyond such a vision. Ultimately satisfied that his desired goals had been implemented (and at speed) all other problems are simply down to the fact it’s early days  and hubs are still evolving– he could well have a point but what’s your opinion? Please feel free to comment and share your experiences (good, bad or inbetween) of music hubs.

MP Ed Vaizey

Post by Sarah

Why another recorder tutor?

Music Expo 2013 - Ready, Steady Recorder!

Music Education Expo 2013: KM’s Abbie Goldberg and Kevin Duncan with Martha Shrimpton

This week Sarah Watts talks a bit about her latest recorder tutor, Ready Steady Recorder, while we take a look at some of its offerings!

Red Hot Recorder has been immensely popular and much used- I hope it still will be, but eight years after its publication, I wanted to offer an alternative. Ready Steady Recorder is aimed at younger starters (ideally Year 2, but could be used for earlier years). It is colourful, has a larger font and moves a little slower– especially after G when many tutors speed up. The pieces (and the rhythm learning) are always reinforced by lyrics, and there is plenty of fun along the way with movement and humour. The book has the same ‘Feel good’ jazzy accompaniment, and the short pieces are repeated so they can be performed in a concert with singing, or just as recorder repertoire. There is a Grand Recorder March at the start of the book to inspire the student, and encourage them to move to the beat. An extravagant fanfare celebrates each new note learned, and everyone can ‘Take a bow’!

If that isn’t a good enough reason to purchase Ready Steady Recorder then here are 8 more!

It’s multi-purpose: from a song that will help children conquer any fear they might have of spiders, to a song that encourages exercise.

It comes with a good dose of magic: ‘Thoughts and dreams’, ‘Buttercups and butterflies’ and ‘Boating Lake Waltz’ are not only really magical, but have a really sophisticated sound that will make young players feel really grown up!

Includes lots of humour: It’s amazing how the note ‘A’ on a recorder fits the word ‘pong’ perfectly in the song ‘Smelly Cheese’.

I can’t imagine any young audience that wouldn’t want to dance to these songs as well…

…Equally I couldn’t imagine any adult/parent not wanting to give these tunes a go themselves. Especially those who played the recorder as a child. Trust me.

Even songs that use only one note manage to sound exciting!

It includes ‘Big band’ accompaniments: cue piano, xylophone, drums and cymbals adding extra ceremony and excitement to performance tracks to give star quality to young players !

My favourite ‘why not…?’ tip would have to be the one that suggests playing the recorder to your pet. I’m pleased to report that test subject ‘Buster’ (who’s been known to run from the hoover) was nonplussed (and I’m not nearly as capable a recorderist as those that will be using this super-duper book!)

Verdict

With her impressively catchy songs and equally catchy titles- Sarah’s got recorder tutors down to a fine art. Ever upping the fun-factor, Sarah has created songs that children will be eager to learn and will want to play again and again. Here are pieces that somehow manage to stay simple whilst sounding advanced throughout. This book is also parent and teacher friendly- containing nothing that won’t be a joy to teach or to listen to!

Book Cover

Ready Steady Recorder is available from all good music shops. A full range of tutors by Sarah Watts is available from all good Music Shops or direct from Kevin Mayhew by phone (+44 (0)845 3881634) or website www.kevinmayhew.com/ready-steady-recorder.html

Your KM Blogger is Sarah Sibley with fabulous support from Abbie Goldberg!

Music Education Expo 2013: Day One: An Overview

With my nose glued to an iPad for most of the day, I was nearly mown down by a (superb!) marching band but ushered swiftly out  of the way by a kind member of staff! Other notable moments included the tribalistic quality of what I assumed were clapping and rhythm exercises coming from the theatre but sounded more like Rhinegold’s inaugural rites! There was also a fab rendition of an Abba song from a young recorder group, not to mention MP Ed Vaizey’s talk and the savaging he received from a few disgruntled music teachers AND not forgetting the inspirational talk on Blogging for music teachers (Save time and money whilst raising the profile of your school!) by two queens of blogging Hanh Doan and Jackie Schneider…phew! Busy day!

Music Expo 2013 - Overview
Music Education Expo 2013

Hanh Doan and Jackie Schneider On Blogging

For the fact that one music teacher asked whether blogs were free to set up or not suggested that there were those in the audience without social media savvy and/or those too busy to look in to it– but enthusiastic about the prospect nonetheless! A glance at both Beaumont School and St Theresa’s School blog page shows YouTube clips, images of whiteboards with the day’s lesson notes on, reminders, announcements, homework and more! For inspiration on setting up your own blog visit:

http://stteresasmusic.academyblogger.co.uk/ http://musicatbeaumontschool.blogspot.co.uk/

You can also follow Jackie and Hanh on Twitter @jackieschneider and @myhanhdoan

Music Expo 2013
Percussion Play demonstrate to delighted spectators

www.percussionplay.co.uk

Music Expo 2013 - Why Play the Recorder?
Sarah Watts with Kevin and Abbie from the KM team

Post By Sarah

An interview with Andy Robb a.k.a Derek the Cleric!

Andy Robb aka Derek the Cleric

With over 40 books under his belt, a Children’s Book of the Year Award 2010, not to mention a thriving Twitter and Facebook fan base for ‘Derek the cleric’, a KM interview with the very funny and talented Andy Robb was surely long over due!

Did you have an artistic/Christian upbring?

I was brought up in a Christian household but didn’t give my life to Jesus until I was married. Deep down I’d been searching for a God who I could encounter, and my experience of being baptised in the Holy Spirit, subsequent to my conversion, gave me a living reality of God and spoiled me for anything less.

My parents were amateur artists and drawing was something that absorbed my childhood. In my teens I set my heart on making it my career.

Do you remember your first efforts at writing?

I come from a family that loves books, in fact we had a family bookshop for a number of years. My brothers and I always seemed to be writing something or other be it school magazines, stories or our own comics.

Was there ever a desire to work in ministry?

Not initially. Before I became a Christian I had two rather shallow ambitions: fame and fortune. I’d had some success as a cartoonist and illustrator working in publishing and advertising including being involved in the initial design of the Kellogg’s Honey Nut Loop bee and being licensed to draw Hagar the Horrible for a national advertising campaign.

Only after I became a Christian did God give me a passion for communicating the things of God and bringing alive the Bible to children.

Did you study art/illustration formally are you self-taught?

I trained at Colchester School of Art which gave me a solid grounding but have invested time over many years developing my own artistic style.

Tell me a bit about your creative process – where do you do most of your creative work and which medium/media do you prefer to work in?

I now work from home but don’t have a problem with self-motivation. Yes, it’s great to have creative inspiration but it’s also possible to operate in the creativity you innately have to fulfil a brief.

I begin the artwork process by producing rough sketches which I then trace over in Indian ink. I scan this into my Mac and then colour it up in Photoshop.

Derek the Cleric - Range of cards by Andy Robb

How was the idea for Derek the cleric conceived and can you tell me a bit about his journey so far?

Derek the Cleric began life as a single frame cartoon on the back of the now defunct Christian Herald newspaper. Three years ago I decided to resurrect Derek by bringing alive his world (and that of his church, St Cliff’s) in a regular blog.

As Derek’s audience grew, I added Facebook, Twitter and a website www.derekthecleric.com to this.

Derek’s very own book ‘A Year at St Cliffs’ was published last year and there is now a range of greetings cards and other merchandise bearing his name.

Derek the Cleric - BishopDerek the Cleric - PopeDerek the Cleric - Bishop

To what extent is your writing inspired by your own experiences of church?

Although I’m not an Anglican my experiences of church have given me much fodder for Derek the Cleric.

As for my kids books, the content very much springs from my relationship with God and my personal understanding of the Bible.

“Christianity doesn’t have to be boring” – do you consider yourself to be the leading light of this message? And are there any other writers whom you feel are doing a good job?

I’ll let another be the judge of that but having experienced something of God’s love and power in my life and having come to put my faith wholeheartedly in his word I remain passionate about helping others to know this also.

Christian writers I come back to time and again include Derek Prince, John Bevere, Colin Urquhart, Bill Johnson and Andrew Wommack.

Are there any  particular illustrators/writers that have influenced your own work?

I’ve read so widely over the years that I probably wouldn’t be able to single out any authors but cartoonists who I’ve admired include the illustrator of the Asterix books, Albert Uderzo and a guy called Robert Nixon who drew many of my favourite childhood comic characters.

You are the author of over 40 books including  Derek the Cleric – a year at St Cliffs, the Professor Bumblebrain series as well as the award-winning 50 Weirdest Bible Stories (CWR). Are there any more books in the pipeline?

50 Wackiest and 50 Juiciest Bible Stories are in production right now but after that, I’m not quite sure. I do have a heart for a kids product range which mobilises children to be agents of God so I’m praying for a publisher who has this on their heart as well.

Derek the Cleric

What was the motivation behind the Boring Bible Series?
I’d seen the Horrible Histories books and thought a book range that brought the Bible alive to kids in the same way would be great.  It’s really pleasing to know that the twelve book series is still in print years later.

Derek the Cleric - Boring Bible

Would you consider applying your humour to something other than the Bible and church life and perhaps writing away from the Christian book genre?

I have thought about it and am not closed to the possibility. I have a secret ambition to write a radio comedy. We’ll see!

Andy’s Boring Bible books are available from the Kevin Mayhew website www.kevinmayhew.com/catalogsearch/advanced/result?name=Boring+Bible and all good christian bookshops.  A mixed-pack of 8 Derek the Cleric greetings cards is now available for both retail customers and trade customers. Look out for a gift range of Derek the Cleric products coming soon from Kevin Mayhew.

Posted by Sarah

Poring over Pastoral Care

Pastoral Care by Bill Merrington

Well-considered and honestly written, Pastoral Care is packed full of engaging anecdotes, useful bits of advice and wise perspective. Peppered with quotations from the likes of Eckhart Tolle, Julian of Norwich and even The Wizard of Oz, this book will most certainly speak to more than just those working in ministry.

Merrington explores pastoral care as broad ranging and ongoing; from the kind of everyday care that starts with conversations over a cup of coffee right up to dealing with issues such as eating disorders and drink and drug problems, pastoral care is not (unlike therapy) reliant on affordability and may be required before, during or after other counselling has been explored. Throughout the book, Merrington refers to knowing ones own capabilities and boundaries as a carer – knowing what level you are able to work at and when to refer to other counselling bodies, how to recognise when you’re heading for burnout (a discussion on ‘Jesus Syndrome’), as well as recognising inappropriate uses of power and authority.

Prayer is arguably one of the key things that distinguishes pastoral care from other types of counselling and Merrington provides some interesting perspectives on how prayer should be utilised. It should not be a substitute for applying practical support, knowledge and skills, but a gift that offers a new and important dimension to care – noting how taking time to reflect on something bigger (God) can refresh, strengthen and allow for new perspectives and new insights. As Merrington points out ‘Prayer is far more than getting God to do a miracle.’

While this book is ultimately aimed at those involved in Church life, those involved general counselling/caring as well as community and youth groups, would benefit from the fresh perspective and accessible, non-preachy tone that Pastoral Care has to offer. Those struggling with issues of anxiety, self-esteem, forgiveness, as well as disenfranchised grief (where loss can not be openly acknowledged or publically mourned) or even ‘singleness’- of being single within a (church) community would find this a useful alternative to the many books on offer within the self-help genre– many of which may not live up to their dazzling titles and may lack the honesty and wisdom of a book such as this.

Whether you dip into relevant chapters or read this from cover to cover, this is a priceless companion that deserves frequent referral.

Bill Merrington has been an Anglican Priest for over 29 years and is currently the Lead Chaplain at Bournemouth University.

Pastoral Care was published at the end of 2012 and is available to purchase from all good Christian Bookshops or direct from the KM website: www.kevinmayhew.com/pastoral-care.html

Posted by Sarah

A chat with Garth Hewitt

Garth Hewitt

Following on from Garth’s visit to the KM office last week, we decided an interview for our Blog was a must!  Below he discusses his latest album ‘Justice like a river’, working with  Cliff Richard, singing in Spanish and much more!

Garth Hewitt

‘Justice like a river’ is your 47th album!…will you be making a 48th, 49th, 50th?

Yes, I’m already thinking about the next two albums so I will keep you in the picture on this!

On the track ‘Feast your mind on what is pure’ Cliff Richard does the backing vocals– what was it like to work with him?

Cliff was always a really good person to work with, very natural, very friendly, and full of ideas. His voice has a great range, so for instance as well as the bit where you can hear him singing very clearly, in the hum at the end of the track, even though I’ve got the Jessy Dixon singers, Cliff was doing the lowest part in the hum. He very much enjoyed doing backing vocals and he did them for me on a couple of albums.

Justice Like a River by Garth Hewitt

With regards to your song writing process, what sort of things inspire you and when and where do you write?

In some ways I am a storyteller and so a story can spark me off. I’ve often picked up issues where I am telling the story of people who get forgotten. But I am inspired by poems, books, films, and probably most by people –and in my travels around the world I think probably people are what have inspired me the most. Some songs pay tribute to these people who I have met in different places.

I write in all sorts of places – if you see me scribbling on the back of an envelope in church or in a café, it means I’ve thought of something or I’ve just heard something which has sparked me off. A bookshop in Wivenhoe sparked off an idea recently.

At what age did you develop your love of music and writing and how did your education nurture these two passions?

My love of music came in my early teens and in my mid teens I took up guitar and joined or formed a couple of groups at school but didn’t start writing songs until I was at University. When it comes to writing books, of prayers etc. that came a little later. I don’t think education nurtured my love of music although maybe school did because of the different music I heard. But I suppose studying English at both school and University helped and gave me a love for poetry and the power of words.

You’re a self-proclaimed ‘Troubadour’ and you were also given special accreditation by the House of Poets in Ramallah.  Do you have any favourite poets?

This is an interesting question because you say I am a ‘self-proclaimed Troubadour’ and I think that depends how you interpret an album that I did, ‘Lonesome Troubadour’. In the end on that one I think there are several possible meanings and actually I am very happy with the term Troubadour.  I was thrilled that I was given the special accreditation by the House of Poets in Ramallah – yes I am a big fan of poetry and two of my favourites are Mahmoud Darwish, who himself was one of the House of Poets in Ramallah, and also Ernesto Cardenal in Nicaragua, who must be one of the greatest poets in the world and I’ve had the privilege of meeting with him.

Garth Hewitt - Performing

Who has been your favourite artist to work with and why?

I’ve enjoyed working with many artists and in all sorts of different ways, some because they are very creative, some because they are just good friends and nice to spend time with. It’s a little tricky for me to specify names in case I leave out someone who I’ve really enjoyed working with.  But I would mention that working with Jessy Dixon was very special, with his amazing heritage in gospel music.

On your album ‘Journeys with Garth Hewitt: Latin America’ (Myrrh 1989) you sing three songs in Spanish, can you tell me a bit about the album and its conception.

I did a whole album in Spanish which was released in Spain and also I believe some countries in Latin America. It was very difficult to do, I recorded it in Barcelona with a great musician Luis Alfredo, but I had a sore throat at the time and I don’t speak Spanish! He translated all my songs for me, and he coached me, but it was really hard. I’m really grateful he made me do it as particularly when I go to Nicaragua I like to include a song or two in Spanish, and occasionally now in the States because audiences can include a lot of Spanish-speaking people. The Spanish album was called ‘Un nino es el futuro’.

Journeys with Garth Hewitt

Where else have your travels taken you and is there a particular place that has special significance for you?

This is a difficult question to answer as I have travelled so much. I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to visit many different parts of the world and I feel great affection for different places and different communities. Bethlehem, Palestine is a good example, where I have godchildren; Managua, Nicaragua inspires me a lot because of the poetry and music there, and especially my friends there. I have been very affected by many visits to Africa, though because I have family including grandchildren in Durban, South Africa that is a place I like to visit. However when they took me on a holiday to Mozambique recently I hadn’t been there for twenty years and I found it an inspiring place and have written two songs there, ‘Full Moon over Mozambique’ and ‘God’s Revolution of love’. My first visit out of Europe was to Haiti and this was in the late ‘70s, and this had a huge impact on me because I began to realise myself the quantity of poverty that there is in our world. I think that had an effect on all that I did afterwards.

Do you feel your message has changed throughout your career as a musician or has it stayed the same?

Not really, though I think it has developed. I very inspired by hearing Martin Luther King when I was a teenager–  the wholeness of his Christian message has been something I’ve tried to reflect in the songs, and ‘Justice Like a River’ still stays on that theme.

You are also the author of eight books including ‘A Road Home’– a collaborative work with the artist, Daniel Bonnell. Would you say visual images have been a big inspiration for your writing across your career?

Yes, visual images do spark off songs and ideas for me. I like art and put paintings on the covers of several albums in the ‘90s.  ‘Walk the Talk’ had a picture from Ethiopia, and ‘Stronger than the Storm’ had a painting from Nicaragua where there are some wonderful artists. I’ve also been influenced and motivated by the work of certain graffiti artists.

Garth Hewitt Inspiration - Copyright Daniel Bonnell   Image © Daniel Bonnell

Tell me about your time as a director/board member of The Greenbelt Festival

After the first Greenbelt Festival a committee was formed which became the Board of Trustees of Greenbelt, and I was on the Board for the first twenty-five years. It was a very creative time as we tried to understand what we had got in this festival as we tried to shape its direction. I particularly felt it should be an arts festival with the social justice emphasis from a Christian viewpoint. I still enjoy Greenbelt, it has been a place that has helped to shape my thinking.

You are the founder of the human rights charity Amos Trust, can you tell me about their latest projects?

Amos Trust is working particularly in four parts of the world at the moment, with the Street Children project in Durban called ‘Umthombo’, and this has also spawned the Street Child World Cup which was held in Durban before the last Fifa World Cup, and is now being planned for Rio in 2014. Also, we work a lot in Palestine/Israel with organisations that work in human rights, reconciliation and non-violence training, and we support a hospital in Gaza. The latest project is a group of people going out to rebuild a demolished house – over 25,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by the Israelis and this will be the second house we have helped to rebuild and it is an attempt to be both a protest and an encouragement. We are also working in Nicaragua supporting our partners there, both in education and agricultural projects and health. Also we work with a Dalit community (those formerly called ‘outcasts’) in a village in Tamil Nadu, and we work with Dalit Liberation Theologians.

Street Child World Cup - This is more than a Game

You are also a regular contributor to Radio 2’s Pause for thought…between writing, singing, charity work and broadcasting how do you relax- that is, if you do get any free time!?

I walk by the river (I live close to the Thames), I watch films, I read, and I like to spend time with family and grandchildren.

Any further ambitions or plans before retirement– if indeed you do ever retire?

Songs, tours, album recording, and more books – I’m not sure that I understand retirement without creating something.

Garth’s latest album ‘Justice like a river’ is available to purchase as a CD or download.  To listen to a sample of click here: www.kevinmayhew.com/justice-like-a-river-cd.html

More information about Garth, including tour dates can be found at his website:

Posted by Sarah

It’s a family affair!

Critical friend by John CoxMore Sermons on Difficult SubjectsA Day Away by Paul Cox

Identical twins John and Paul Cox have more in common than it would initially seem. The retired duo, both of whom worked in parish ministry, have had titles published by Kevin Mayhew on the exact same day- a first ever (we think!)

Twins - John Cox and Paul Cox

John’s Critical Friend, which provides information and guidance to help school governors fulfil their important, demanding and worthwhile role and A Day Away, in which Paul Cox contributes his valuable experience in planning parish away days and study groups, were published on the same day last month.

While John has been writing for Kevin Mayhew for many years and is also a commissioning editor for the company, it is only recently that Paul began writing. From their contributions to pastoral care handbooks to their very own titles that range from study courses and joining the Anglican Church to retreat days and the important work of church schools, the Cox brothers have covered a wide spectrum and their list of titles have been well received critically.

Other recent publications include their esteemed contributions to the important new title More sermons on Difficult Subjects. Elsewhere, John offers a fresh and exciting resource for those leading and speaking during this season of Lent in the aptly titled The Week that Changed the World.

The Week that Changed the World by John CoxJoining the Anglican Church by Paul CoxMore Than Caring and Sharing by John Cox

More information about the twins plus further titles by the pair are available at www.kevinmayhew.com. You can ‘like’ Critical Friend on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Critical-Friend-The-Work-of-Governors-in-Church-Schools/549242891776459

Posted by Sarah

What are you giving up (or taking up!) for Lent?

Pick up and use Youth Work Resource for Church and SchoolThe Greatest Love Story Ever Told and then some by Rosie RushtonFeasts and Festivals by Claire Benton-Evans
Derek the ClericHiding in God by Annie HeppenstallThe Psalms - Translated by Nick King
Fruitfull by Suzi StockThe New Testament - Translated by Nicholas KingOur Earth, Our Home by Ellen Teague

A wise priest once told me, ‘Give vent to your creative bent this Lent’ – so this year, I’m going to start learning the ukulele! It will be the first musical instrument I’ve tried to learn since I gave up piano lessons at 15…it could be a long forty days and forty nights!
Claire Benton-Evans

I’m giving up the early morning cup of coffee, with a view to praying a bit more. And possibly abandoning alcohol…
Nicholas King

I like the idea of taking something up instead. I’m going to start a ‘thankful’ box. Basically each day I will try to write down a short thing I’m thankful for on a slip of paper and put it in a box or jar…. then at the end of the year I will read them through. I’ve heard of people who have done this and they say how positive and encouraging it is so I’m hoping I can keep it up!!
Suzi Stock

I’m going to make an effort to actually finish all the books I have on the go…that’s a biography, three poetry books and two novels at the moment!
Sarah Sibley (Copy Editor and Social Media Publicist)

I’m going to curb my sweet tooth- no more Humbugs, Skittles or Cola bottles!
Steven Gibbon (Website Manager)

Having stocked up on pancakes for yet another year I and my flock at St.Cliff’s are journeying through this season of Lent by abstaining from that firm favourite: chocolate.That my elevenses are invariably accompanied by a digestive biscuit covered with this now-forbidden treat makes this an even greater sacrifice for this humble clergyman. Between you and me, I had considered proposing that our discordant and cacophonous organist, Mrs Higginbottom, perhaps lay off ‘tinkling the ivories’ for this forty day fast but discretion got the better of me. Onward and upward.
Derek the Cleric

I’m going to try to give up crisps. It sounds like a small thing (and I know it is in the grand scheme of things) but I eat a lot of crisps! It will certainly make me think abut God most lunchtimes when I have my lunch.
Philip Eley

I’m giving up drinking tea!
Abbie Goldberg (Marketing Manager)

I’m going to try and give up fizzy drinks.
Kevin Duncan (Managing Director)

I’m ‘taking up’ rather than ‘giving up’, I want to re-awaken my musicality, which was always a real love of mine and also an important part of my prayer life, but it got a bit lost in recent years. I want to be able to replace ‘I used to play …’ with ‘I play’.
Annie Heppenstall

This Lent I will be attempting to reduce my use of my car by at least 50%, shopping more frequently from shops nearby to reduce wastage, and reading the Psalms cover to cover!
Rosie Rushton

I’m giving up having three sugars in my tea and sticking to two from now on!
Amanda Harker (Sales Coordinator)

I’m giving up junk food!
James Hare (Sales Coordinator)

I’ll be attending Pax Christi’s Ash Wednesday Vigil at the Ministry of Defence today to repent Britain’s Nuclear Weapons expenditure and nuclear threat. Throughout Lent I’ll support campaigns to stop more expenditure on Trident. Lent is a time for repentance and making peace.
Ellen Teague

Posted by Sarah 

New titles coming soon from Nicholas King, Annie Heppenstall and Claire Benton-Evans…watch this space! A range of ‘Derek the Cleric’ greetings cards are available from our trade site at trade.kevinmayhew.com/greetings-cards/derek-the-cleric.html. Books by all mentioned authors and more can be found on our website at: www.kevinmayhew.com.

Why play the recorder?

Ready, Steady Recorder! by Sarah Watts

Composer Sarah Watts has extended her repertoire of creative recorder tutors with her biggest tutor to date and to celebrate its Spring launch we thought we’d gather together some very good reasons to take up the recorder!

It’s arguably the most affordable instrument to take up (though some are available for upwards of a thousand pounds!). It’s good value for money too- lots of ‘bang for the buck’ as one music teacher put it.

Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Springsteen are just a few musicians who can play the recorder.

The descant recorder is a good stepping stone to playing other members of the recorder family (bass, tenor, treble (alto) and sopranino recorders) and it teaches skills that can be transferred to other wind instruments such as knowing how to cover holes and control your breathing.

It is small and light weight, which means it’s also easy to transport.

The recorder is an excellent starter instrument for all ages– very easy to make a sound on and a perfect instrument for teaching basic music theory.

The recorder’s simplistic design and readily available instruction books make it a perfect instrument for the masses.

In a school environment it is perhaps the only introduction to playing a musical instrument for a large group of children who would never otherwise get the opportunity.

The recorder is the instrument where most people start to foster their love of playing music.

It teaches coordination skills: When you play the recorder you’re breathing with your lungs, reading music with your eyes, playing notes and songs by moving your fingers all while sitting/standing up straight.

It improves social skills through group playing.

Lastly, it provides a source of joy, self-esteem and self-expression, to every single player…regardless of ability!

Posted by Sarah

Ready, Steady Recorder! is available for pre-order from the Kevin Mayhew website at: www.kevinmayhew.com/ready-steady-recorder.html

For teachers- download a free sample pack here: www.kevinmayhew.com/ready-steady-recorder

How is ‘Fit for Purpose’ fit for purpose?

Fit for Purpose by Ed Hone

 Fit for purpose is a seven week Lent Course primarily but not exclusively for groups. The absence of frills and props means there’s a smooth transition between using it in either capacity and there are chapters at the start of the book on using it whichever way too.

The tone is searching and impassioned- from the ‘restless creativity of God’ to what unbalanced ‘spiritual diets’ would look like, and there’s a real pick and mix of lively writing with the author dipping in to everything from the first moon landing to budget air travel in order to get the reader thinking. The ‘Spiritual fitness quiz’ will let you know if you need a ‘spiritual ambulance’ or are ‘the picture of rosy spiritual health’; light hearted and fun but there’s perhaps a limited option of answers for some questions!

The suggested hymns are optional if working through this book alone, as I did, and it didn’t seem odd or distracting to be reading ‘leader’ parts without there being one. I did find the weekly ‘Catching up’ part repetitive but it is aimed more at groups and would be apt for breaking the ice and also for forming real connections with others.

Lastly, it’s fairly short at 107 pages but for £8.99 you definitely won’t be feeling short changed!

Reviewed by Sarah

Available from all good Christian Bookshops or direct from KM online and by phone (www.kevinmayhew.com/fit-for-purpose.html) +44 (0)845 3881634

Ed Hone is a member of the Redemptorist missionary order. He specialises in mission development, preaching and creative liturgy, working chiefly in Britain and Ireland. Ed is currently parish priest of the English-speaking Catholic parish in Luxembourg.