New Brunswick — They say every cloud has a silver lining, and for New Brunswick parents, the silver lining of COVID-19 is that recorders — the most piercing, loud, unpleasant-sounding instrument known to humankind — will no longer be part of their children’s education.
“Whether you consider it fortunate or not, because it’s impossible to play the recorder without expelling large amounts of saliva particles into the air, we have to cancel the program indefinitely,” said elementary school principal Reggie Harrison of Saint John, N.B. “Maybe forever. The nostalgic part of me is sad, but the rational part of me is happy that I’ll never have to hear the sound of 30 kids at once playing the wrong notes to some grating song. So, mixed feelings.”
“The only songs kids ever learn are ‘Hot Cross Buns’ and ‘Three Blind Mice,’ which, by the way, are pretty much the exact same song,” said Jessica Marlowe, parent of two. “The teachers, who must be sadists, give them homework…so my kids would come home with instructions to play the damned recorder for half an hour or whatever. Isn’t being a parent hard enough without this added torture?
“So yeah, you could say I’m ecstatic about the no-recorder rule.”
Teachers, though, say they hate recorders just as much as everyone else.
“I’ve been a music teacher for 30 years, and this is the first one where we’re able to say NO to those godawful excuses for wind instruments,” explained Carla Young, a Fredericton-area elementary teacher.
“It started as a way to kill time when you didn’t have a lesson plan ready — just get the kids to go to town on the recorders for an hour. But as years went by, the sound of them gave me nightmares. Even after my hearing started to go, I could still hear the recorders in my mind, morning noon and night. But by then it was just expected that kids have to learn recorder, so I had to keep it up.
“God bless corona, is all I can say!”