SUMMERSIDE — Does Recorder Karate sound somewhat unusual?
Well, not to the Carrie MacLellan, music director at Miscouche Consolidated.
In fact, the more Recorder Karate she hears, the sweeter it sounds.
It’s one of several musical programs offered at the school, which, up until recent years, didn’t have a music and band program of its own.
MacLellan spoke about the program at English Language School Board’s monthly meeting, held earlier this week in Summerside.
“Miscouche is a K to 9 school with a population of just under 260. Probably about 10, 12 years ago we didn’t have a band. They do have a band program now, as well as a strong music program under Carrie’s leadership,” said the board’s director of curriculum delivery, Doug MacDougall, who introduced MacLellan and her students.
Joining the music teacher were several Grade 3 students, who performed a Bruno Mars song, a song they had performed during the presentation of the Extra Mile Award to school education assistant, Judy DesRoches.
“At Miscouche school the kids in kindergarten up to Grade 5 do stuff like this. We have primary choir, a junior choir that goes up until Grade 5, and we have senior choir that goes up in to Grade 9,” said MacLellan after the group’s performance. “These girls will be in Grade 4 next year and something we do in Grade 4 at Miscouche is we offer a ukulele program. It’s as awesome as you can imagine. There are a lot of sore fingers and a lot of practicing how to tune.”
Senior band member, Grade 9 student, Brooke Copeland, also performed a solo on the flute for the board.
MacLellan said the school has beginner band in Grade 8 and the senior band program, which includes grades 7 to 9, has 37 students.
“That’s big. Miscouche is one of three junior high schools on the Island where if the student wants to take music in junior high, they get to,” she added. “At other schools, once a student hits Grade 6 they have to write a test to be part of the band program because there is such a demand. So many kids want to be part of the band program but they are costly programs to run and us music teachers know that.”
She added, “I am proud to say at Miscouche we are able to keep it so that every student that wants to gets to play music.”
So, what exactly is Recorder Karate?
MacLellan explained that her Grade 5 students, for each new song learned on the recorder, get a coloured ‘belt’ that’s put on their instrument.
“The students have nine tunes they are challenged to learn,” said MacLellan. “‘Hot Cross Buns’ is the white-belt tune and Merrily Roll Along is the yellow-belt tune.”
She added that the boys in the class have been quite competitive.
“This is my first year doing the program. It is really intense and competitive,” she added. “The boys are in a mad dash to the black belt. It’s great. Kids are learning to read music quick than ever, which is awesome.”
Grade 3 students from Miscouche Consolidated, along with their teacher Carrie MacLellan, perform for the English Language School Board during its monthly meeting held Tuesday night in Summerside.
©Nancy MacPhee/Journal Pioneer