My Version Of Recorder Karate
Submitted by Martha Stanley, NBCT, Tallahassee, Florida
Idea posted 2003-07-18
A few years ago I was trying to get my school interested in doing recorder beads... earn a recorder and get beads for the neck strap as "badges." Then I read about Recorder Karate with the ribbon belts and changed over to ribbons rather than beads.
I, like others, have my own criteria and progression for the ribbons. (I call them ribbons, not belts.)
The main difference in my program is that along with playing a prescribed piece, the student has to compose an eight-measure piece, notate it, and play it. I supply them with my "grid paper" that I use for everything I notate from kindergarten on, so they're used to it.
To earn the recorder (first step), the composition must contain BAG, and a quarter note, two eighth notes, a half note, and a quarter rest, and it must end on G.
- The red ribbon (I go by the colors of the rainbow) is Canoe Round, and they must compose an eight-measure piece that has all of the above plus low D and E and a whole note.
- The orange ribbon is a bear. They have to play BAG exercises, I guess you'd call them, and notate pitches on a staff. It's an encoding and decoding challenge from heck, using only BAG, a quarter note, two eighth notes, a half note, and a quarter rest. There is no composition this time because the playing portion is frustrating enough without extra hassle.
- The yellow ribbon requires them to play "Au Clair De La Lune" (AABA form with the AGF#ED run) AND compose a 16-bar tune with all of the above plus F# and a whole note.
The compositions get progressively more sophisticated and more (forgive me) tuneful. Some are jarringly modern and very cool; some are delicate little pieces reminiscent of European folk tunes. Neat contrasts.
The green ribbon is for "Fanfare" by Isabel Carley with high C (3rd space), and NOW they may not write the pitch letters under the staff. For composition, I supply them a grid with the rhythmic notation, and they must use six different pitches, including an F# or high C. The rhythm has syn-co-pa emphasis for rhythmic reading expansion.
Kids love to feel masterful and helpful. And they really do a good job coaching and assisting. It's heartwarming.