Recorder Karate Idea Bank

Adding Exercises & More Songs for Earning Belts

Submitted by Dianne Chrestopoulos, Argyle, Texas

Idea posted 2003-04-10

First let me say that I do not use the Recorder Karate program exactly, but have adapted the idea with my kids. I only see my kids once a week for 45 minutes, but we generally work in something with recorder every music class.

I begin recorder with my 3rd graders starting in January, and my 4th and 5th graders continue along from wherever they were at the end of the previous year. (All of my kids buy their own recorders - I order them and they purchase them from me, sometimes two - one for home and one for school). But this year, over Christmas break when I read about the Recorder Karate idea in the Idea Bank, I knew I had to try it. It has been fantastic! Some of my 3rd graders are playing better than some of my 5th graders (although, of course, motivation is a big key)!

I have the kids play three exercises for each "level" from white to yellow plus a song. (This was someone else's idea I read about, but I am big on learning to read and not just play by rote.) Then, as the levels advance, they have to play more exercises (related to the songs) and play more songs, so by the time they are working on their purple and blue belts, they are reading 4-6 exercises (I make them up) and playing 2-3 songs. This is great to teach articulation, additional rhythms, and some things you may not get to for awhile with the regular class.

I now have five kids on Brown Belt, and they are hounding me to death to get the packet ready for black belt and beyond! I can hardly keep up with them. As you imagine and have read from others, once you begin this, your time is never your own anymore, there are always lines of kids at my door before school and after school waiting to "test" for their belts. It is AWESOME and parents are constantly thanking me for motivating their child to practice.

Anyway, the idea to have some type of "special performance" gave me an idea also. My school has a health fair in April, and we are always trying to get more parents to come to it, so I am going to show off some of the kids who are way up there on their levels and let them perform at this event. I also have some duets and things for them to play, and I am going to use some of the cool recorder pieces in Music K-8 with accompaniments - these will be a hit!

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