Recorder Karate Idea Bank

Recorder Note Charms Incentive

Submitted by Cheryl Manbeck, Plain City, Ohio

Idea posted 2010-02-18

I have been a Music K-8 subscriber for many years and have used a variety of the recorder songs in lieu of a recorder method book. The collection of songs we learn throughout the year becomes an end-of-the-year concert for my 4th graders, and their parents rave about how great they sound playing such fun songs! I recommended the Music K-8 resource to a fellow music teacher in my district, and she, in turn, suggested I look into Recorder Karate. After some thought on how to start out simple with my 100+ 4th graders, here is what I developed...

The phys. ed. teacher in my building awards small, plastic "toe tokens" to students who exhibit good sportsmanship, outstanding skill performance, etc. The kids LOVE to collect those inexpensive little foot-shaped pieces to wear on their shoelaces, backpacks, etc. I found some music-themed tags/charms in the Fitness Finder catalog, and these are the perfect recorder "belts."

The next task was figuring out how to quickly attach the note tags to the kids' recorders. I tried looping a small rubber band through the opening and slipping it up onto the bell of the recorder. I also tried using a 6" chain from Fitness Finders and wrapping it around the recorder twice. Both ideas worked, but not easily. Then I read the "Metal Rings and Beads" idea submitted by Sandy Toms. Charming! =) I use 1" loose leaf rings (hinged metal rings that open up and clasp shut). The inside of the ring measures 1" and fits the bottom of most recorders.

From each Music K-8 recorder song we learn, I pull a short excerpt that my students have to play in order to earn the belt:

white (silver ring) ~ B piece

yellow (apple green note) ~ BA piece

green (teal note) ~ BAG piece

red (watermelon note) ~ BAGE piece

purple (grape note) ~ BAGED piece

blue (blue note) ~ BAGEDC' piece

black (black note) ~ BAGEDC'D' piece

The 4-8 measures I extract are usually where the trickiest fingering and/or rhythms occur, so it gives the kids an incentive to perfect the most challenging part of each piece!

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