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Recorder Karate: An Exciting Way To Teach Beginner's Music

Author : Ben Carper


A dynamic methodology introduced into the music classroom fairly recently is, recorder karate. Also named the, "English flute", it is usually the very first instrument children are introduced to at a beginner's level. Belonging to the woodwind class of instruments, it is relatively easy to learn if patience and diligent practice is encouraged.

Just like the disciplined martial art, karate, this way of learning how to play the recorder also has its introductory protocol. Students should observe silence when entering the classroom and come prepared with all the necessary items. They should bow to their teacher as well as to the other learners before being seated as well as at the end of the class.Students should sit cross-legged and only begin playing when instructed to do so. Playing out of turn may be viewed as being disrespectful.

A special grading system is followed, where students earn belts as they advance through the various levels. The colours of the belts follow the same progression as karate: white, yellow, orange, green, purple, blue, red, brown and finally, black. As extra incentive, some teachers add trinkets or charms to the ends of the belts for special effort and good behaviour in class.

Each coloured belt is achieved by successfully playing the allocated song for that particular level. As the songs increase in musical difficulty, so the colours progress up their rankings. To earn a white belt, learners must play, "Hot Cross Buns", which incorporates the notes, B, A and G. To achieve a black belt, they must play, Beethoven's, "Ode To Joy", which includes notes, D, E, F#, G, A, B, and C.

One noticeable benefit of this method is that it motivates children who normally do not want to participate in class activities. Some teachers have noticed that many even help each other and practice in recess. More students also become more easy to instruct and willing to receive advice and take extra lessons to achieve their goals.

A con of the method is that struggling students may not be able to keep up with other class members. Some teachers even feel that this kind of competitive practice is unhealthy. Still others feel that competition increases their willingness to learn and play an active role in achieving their full potential.

In order to suit the needs and make-up of each individual music class, many teachers adapt the methods. Some allocate entire lessons to learning and practicing new songs while others spend a maximum of thirty minutes on it. Others have introduced gold and silver belts to follow black, with their own individual songs to accompany them.

Books and easy guides on recorder karate are available both at selected outlets or online and include fingering techniques, practice worksheets and instructions on how to care for the instrument. Teachers have tried and tested its methodology, discovering both its pros and cons, and many have emerged avid fans of its routines and rewards. It has also proven to be an effective way to enhance other, older ways of teaching music to young children.


Author's Resource Box

Recorder Karate can be found on our website www.recorderkarate.net.

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Submitted : 2011-04-22    Word Count : 613    Times Viewed: 843