Do you remember playing the recorder in school? For a lot of kids, it’s their first musical instrument. I actually kept mine for years afterwards even though the only thing I could play was Hot Cross Buns and some terrible song about a goose dying called Go Tell Aunt Rhody. I think I would have kept it around even longer if it was an ocarina!
Ocarinas are a great alternative to the recorder and STL Ocarina has been able to implement their ocarina program into 30 schools with great results. They’ve found children to be more engaged with music lessons when they have a unique instrument that many of them know from a very popular game, and personal favorite of mine – Legend of Zelda!
The ocarina is a wind instrument featured highly throughout the Legend of Zelda game series, and made its first appearance as Link’s “magic flute” in the 3rd game, A Link to the Past. This particular game is one that kept me up until the wee hours of the morning trying to assemble the Triforce and save the princess. The ocarina is one of the keys needed to enter the Sacred Realm and gives the user a variety of magical powers from conjuring up storms to creating time warps. There’s even Ocarina of Time, where players can learn 12 different songs played using the buttons on the Nintendo game controller.
STL Ocarina ran across my Link cosplay, so it was obvious I was a big Legend of Zelda fan. They sent me a variety of Ocarinas to try in different shapes and materials (plastic and ceramic) and several learning books. They have an amazing variety of ocarinas on their website in tons of different shapes and styles, along with learning materials. There’s even themed ocarinas from different fandoms like Sailor Moon and Doctor Who!
The company is a division of St. Louis School of Music, run by mostly music teachers who saw the potential in the ocarina to be more than just a novelty toy. STL Ocarina grew out of the desire to create a better ocarina than was currently available and offer an affordable and accessible option for music programs. They worked with talented ceramic artists around the world to improve the tone and ease of play, and started publishing and recording music specifically for the ocarina. The result is a high quality instrument that can be enjoyed by kids and parents alike, and resources to learn and play new songs that go beyond video games. They offer both 12-hole ocarinas and a 6-hole options for younger children.
Visit them at www.stlocarina.com to learn more about this unique instrument and get one for yourself!