Students learn to play the ocarina

Children enrolled in one Kids Camp music class were recently taught to play an instrument not often seen in other classes — the ocarina.

College for Kids Instructor Deborah Goodhead teaches the Ocarina-Woodwind from the Stone Age camp each summer.

She said the last class for this summer just ended on a high note. Goodhead said her students were playing their ocarinas by the second day of class.

The video game “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” is used to teach the class, she said.

Goodhead even teaches the camp while wearing a pointy green hat similar to the one worn by “Zelda” main character Link. In “Ocarina of Time,” Link plays an ocarina that can perform magical spells.

She said the students play the game so they can learn as they play along with the music.

“We [play] some Zelda songs … for sure,” Goodhead said, “ … like ‘Zelda’s Lullabye’ and ‘Temple of Time.’”

Goodhead projects songs on a board for the students to play, where diagrams of ocarinas are shown to represent the different notes. Each ocarina represents a note, with circles on it representing the fingering positions, she said.

Using this method, Goodhead said, the students quickly get the hang of playing the instrument.

“[We play] songs on the ocarina using tab where [students] … actually see the positions of their fingers without having to read the notes on the staff.”

The students also work on embouchure (mouth playing position), “which is a very good thing to do if they want to go on to play clarinet or flute or saxophone, other woodwind instruments,” she said.

“It uses the same muscles.”

Goodhead said children should learn to play as many instruments as they can and to enjoy the different families of instruments.

She said there is an opportunity to do that as she has other musical camps coming up in July — starting with an all-day World Music Camp.

The first week of camp is Monday, July 7, through Friday, July 11, for students entering first through third grade.

The second week is from July 14 through 18 for children entering fourth through fifth grade.

To enroll in a College for Kids Camp, visit the FACE Center or call 405-686-6222.

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