Dad of Divas' Reviews: Music is Key to Summer Enrichment - The Ocarina can help!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Music is Key to Summer Enrichment - The Ocarina can help!

STL Ocarina is offering two summer enrichment packages:

The Art of Ocarina for Young Children: This method book is specially designed for children and those of who are young at heart. Through ten step-by-step lessons, you can learn how to read music and how to play songs on your six-hole ocarina. No prior musical knowledge is required. A demonstration CD is included so you can play along with us! This book also includes: 10 Step-by-step lessons; Colorful fingering chart; Over 30 well known songs; Tips on how to practice each song; and a free 6-hole plastic ocarina. SRP: $30 Available at

The Art of Ocarina for Older Kids (ages 10+): This method book is designed to help older children learn to play the ocarina. No prior musical knowledge is required. In addition to presenting various rhythms and the fingerings for the notes, our lessons provide instruction on how to read standard musical notation on the ocarina. The repertoire chapter includes 12 famous songs with detailed information on how to practice each song. A demonstration CD of all the songs in the book is provided to help you learn to play beautifully. This method book includes: 12 Step-by-Step lessons; How to play each note; Tips on how to practice; Breathing techniques; How to play various rhythms; How to play in different keys; Scales and exercises for daily practice; Over 50 well known songs; and a demonstration CD. Also included in this custom package is a 12-hole Plastic Tenor Ocarina in C Major. SRP: $39. Available at

History of The Ocarina
The ocarina is an ancient instrument. The first known ocarina-like instrument appear about 12000 years ago. The ocarina’s origins can be traced back to many different cultures. In South and Central America, the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas all developed and performed on clay ocarinas which were often shaped like birds or animals. Ocarinas shaped like birds and animals could also be found in India as early as 5000 BC. China had its own form of ocarina called a Xun which was more rounded and egg-like in shape.

Early History - 16th - 19th Centuries
The ocarina eventually made its way to Europe. In 1527, Cortes sent a group of Aztec dancers and musicians back to Emperor Charles V to perform at the royal court. The performance was well received and the Aztecs were sent to perform at various exhibitions throughout Europe. According to legend, a baker in Rome saw such a performance and was so impressed with the ocarina that he decided to make his own. (Bakers at that time often would make small pottery objects in their ovens to use up the leftover ashes.) It was nicknamed “ocarina” meaning “little goose.” It soon became a novelty item, but with its limited number of notes, it was little more than a toy. This all changed in the late 19th century when Guiseppe Donati, a young baker and musician, invented the submarine/sweet potato shaped ocarina which included accurate pitch and an extended range of notes. The ocarina could now be used for western art music. Various sizes were made which enabled ocarina players to form ensembles. One such ocarina ensemble is the famed Gruppo Ocarinistico Budriese which is still actively performing today.

20th Century
During the first and second World Wars, servicemen often were provided with a pocket-sized ocarina to boost moral. As a result, the ocarina gained popularity in America as well as in Europe. However, due to rising interest in the recorder, the ocarina soon became unknown to the general public. With the release of the popular video game “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” in the 1990s, the ocarina has reached a new level of popularity in America and Europe. The ocarina has also gained recognition in Asia, particularly in Japan, thanks to the efforts of ocarina master Sojiro. He has released several recordings and continues to perform internationally.

What does an Ocarina Sound Like

My Take On The Ocarina

Growing up, I was very musical in nature, I played Trumpet as well as was a vocal singer, so I read music and know how to play musical instruments. Ocarina gave me the opportunity with this review to try out two (a 6 hole & 12 hole Ocarina) of their Ocarina's along with the Beginners Guide to the Ocarina and the Beginners Guide to the Ocarina For Kids.

I found each of the ocarinas to be very different from one another in terms of how they sounded and how you played them. The hardest part that I found in playing one of these ocarinas was learning the different note finger positions and being able to move my fingers in the right places at the right time. The guides though help the beginner to take a step-by-step approach to learning the finger positions to make you start sounding like a pro in no time. I decided to give these ocarina's (the 6 hole at first) to Diva-J to start working with her on learning the instrument. If you know Diva-J, you know she is not the most patient, so I expected her to simply start blowing all over the place and not take direction. Surprisingly, I was impressed to see that she did do that at first, but then I sat down and talked to her and slowly she took to the direction step-by-step. So I am hopeful that through the summer we can work on this and practice and see what happens, maybe she will become as good as the woman you year above someday.

Overall, I would say that if you are looking for a unique musical instrument or if you want your children to experience and appreciate an instrument that has been around for a very long time, take a look at purchasing an Ocarina for yourself.

If you are looking to purchase an Ocarina, you can find a myriad of different types of ocarinas at:

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Terms of Use  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

1 comment:

Renee said...

Very cool--I first heard of this instrument while playing the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time mentioned in your post!