This past homeschool convention season, Ben and I visited the booth of STL Ocarina. Well . . .I should say Ben hung out at their booth (a lot) and then dragged me over to see what they had to offer.
As a fan of the Zelda games on Wii, he was intrigued by the ocarinas. Plus he loves music of all kinds and has some natural talent, often spending hours teaching himself how to play songs on his keyboard. We didn’t make a purchase from STL Ocarina that weekend, but I tucked the idea of buying an ocarina for him later as a gift.
Are you familiar with the ocarina?
The ocarina is an ancient wind musical instrument—a type of vessel flute. Variations exist, but a typical ocarina is an enclosed space with four to twelve finger holes and a mouthpiece that projects from the body. It is traditionally made from clay or ceramic, but other materials are also used—such as plastic, wood, glass, metal, or bone. An example of an ocarina made of an animal horn is the medieval German gemshorn. SOURCE
Imagine how thrilled I was when a few months later STL Ocarina contacted me to ask for a review and giveaway. Better yet . . . imagine how thrilled Ben was!
We received Ocarina FUNdamentals – the all inclusive package for all ocarina enthusiasts, specially designed for parents who want to teach their children music.
This package retails for $39.99 includes:
- 12-Hole Plastic Ocarina
- The Art of Ocarina Method Book Volume One on a CD
- The Art of Ocarina Method Book Companion CD
- Instructional DVD
The 12-hole ocarina is recommended for children age 10 and up.
From the website:
Learning a musical instrument has proven benefits for people of all ages, but particularly for children. Through music study they develop discipline, patience, problem solving skills and confidence. Ocarina is one of the easiest instruments to learn, as well as one of the most affordable, making music instruction more accessible to all families.
STL Ocarina has a section on their website dedicated to homeschoolers. There’s a nice video there to watch from a homeschool mom explaining the benefits of using the ocarina for music instruction in the homeschool classroom. STL Ocarina also offers discounts up to 40% for families who wish to purchase instruments for all of their young musicians.
Learn to play the Ocarina
Ben tore open the box and immediately began attempting to play the ocarina right away. He wanted to play the songs from The Legend of Zelda as soon as possible. His natural bent toward improv in music shined right away. Without even looking through the instructional content that came with the instrument, he was able to figure out the notes and how to play the instrument within a few hours. Within a few days, he was playing a couple of songs quite well.
I did have him sit down and go through the lessons found in the Method Book and to watch the Instructional DVD. He gained a few tips that he had not yet figured out, like how to move his head lower when blowing the high notes, but overall didn’t spend a huge amount of time with the formal instruction. If you have a child who might require more help in figuring things out, it’s there, and the lessons are very easy to follow. We have enjoyed listening to Companion CD. Listening to the music being played gives an added dimension to the lessons, because your child will know what it should sound like when he plays. In addition, Ben has watched many, many You Tube videos to perfect his Zelda music.
A true testament to his love for this little pocket instrument, Ben takes it with him everywhere. A couple of months ago we attended the wedding of our nephew (Ben’s cousin) and he pulled it out during the reception and began playing.
You can see the delight on the faces of his aunts in the background of this picture I snapped really quickly. I wish I could have snapped more shots of the faces of people listening. They were mesmerized. Most had never seen or heard of the ocarina.
As mentioned in the description above, an ocarina can be made of many different materials. The one received is plastic, but it is well-made and very durable. The sound it makes is quite lovely and Ben has been happy with it. Interestingly, the box we received does not indicate the “Zelda” model ocarina is included, but that’s what we received. Ben would love one of these ceramic models (and there may or may not be one under our Christmas tree this year . . . shhhhhhh).
If you have kids interested in learning how to play an instrument, this is such a great place to start. And even if you have kids who play other instruments, the ocarina is just plain fun. Your kids will have a blast with it!