As we bring in the brand new year of 2022, I am very proud to present two brand new Zellerwear publications; Z Ocarina Instruction Books. One for the 6 Hole Ocarina and one for the 12 Hole Ocarina. These books are specifically designed to teach school children how to play the instrument by using colored fingering icons that are the same as Boomwhacker instruments that are used within the school system. The colored icons allow students to access both sides of their brain as they follow the music (we read with one side of our brain and see color with the other side) as they play their instruments. I have witnessed many of my students learning music much faster when color is included in the music reading process. This inspired me to include colored icons in the Z Ocarina curriculum.
Both books are the same and could be used together or separately. This allows a student learning a 6 hole to be able to play along with a student learning the 12 hole and play the same music. I tested the music over the summer with eight 9 year-old students and their younger siblings. I gave them each a 6 hole ocarina, a 2-page handout which included a fingering chart and 5 songs, and I asked them to try to figure it out on their own. It was my prediction that they would be able to figure out how to play the ocarina all on their own without me giving them detailed instruction. I then met with them on weekly zoom calls where they shared with me what they learned and made suggestions to help make things easier to read and understand. All students were given a 6 hole to start with and mid summer the 9 year-olds were given a 12 hole as well. I sent them more music as I prepared a few more pages here and there to get their opinions on things such as readability, sizes of icons and song choices.
Once our school year began, my students were so excited to begin playing ocarinas at school. We unfortunately had to face Covid restrictions, district, county and state mandates, mask requirements and virulent strains that all have prevented us from playing within the classroom. As of the date of this blog post, I have only been able to teach 2 days of ocarinas to my students this school year. The first day, we were not able to put our mouths on the instruments. We only practiced fingering. The second day, we spent two thirds of our class time practicing fingering and the last 10 minutes we were able to play outside. The students were in heaven. They loved experiencing the ocarinas and are excited to do it once again.
We are hoping as we approach the spring, restrictions will lighten and we will be able to play ocarinas freely at school. I will come back and report how things go with my students. I am developing step by step lessons on Google Slides and plan to have those available for interested teachers later this Spring. In the mean time, how about we all enjoy playing the ocarina!
Until next time -