Recorder Karate Idea Bank

Crazy Frog Fingering Exercises for Recorder

Submitted by Tami Mangusso, Colorado

Idea posted 2011-10-05

I call these finger exercises, "The Crazy Frog Workout," because we use the Crazy Frog version the song "Axel F." It is not done on the recorder itself; these are individual finger exercises to help students learn how to control individual fingers.

Here is what we do:

Finger Bends:

Put the pointer finger up in both hands, then bend them closed, then open them up so they are both pointing towards each other, then bend them close again, then point them back up. Keep doing this for about eight reps. Next, add the middle finger and do the middle finger and the pointer finger together. Lastly, add the ring finger.

Finger Taps:

Spread hands out on your lap or on the floor (if they sit on the floor). Tap just the index finger in both hands for about 8-16 counts. Have them lift the finger as high as they can without the other fingers leaving their lap/floor. Next, do the same with just the middle finger. I always say, "Don't be nasty, but lift it high." (I can't help it if the middle finger has a bad reputation. This usually takes care of the issue of using the middle finger.) Lastly, you finish with just doing the ring finger. In the beginning, students will not be able to lift the ring finger because it is the weakest finger, but encourage them to lift it as high as they can, even if it barely lifts up.

Finger Crosses:

Put hands together (like praying hands, but fingers will be spread apart). Starting with the index/pointer finger, you will fold them down. Your right finger will end up on one side of the left finger, and it will touch the backside of the left hand, then quickly switch it to the other side. Keep switching sides as fast as you can go. Next, you will do the same with the middle finger and then the ring finger. You might have to go slowly in the beginning, but as they get use to this exercise, they should be able to go faster and faster. Kids will think you're cool when you can go really fast.

I do this workout at the beginning of every recorder class in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. It's fun to watch them improve at this, and kids really love to do them. Just make sure you do the finger exercises slowing in the beginning. It's important that they do them correctly; otherwise they will develop bad finger technique, and they will still struggle to play the recorder. I tell my students to really make sure they do it right, because otherwise their recorder playing will be sloppy and they will squeak all the time and it will never go away.

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