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

Published: 19th May 2011
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The recorder is one of the first musical instruments that children are introduced to. It is also known as an "English Flute" and belongs to the woodwind family of instruments. One innovative and incentive-centred method of teaching children how to play it and how to read sheet music, is by implementing recorder karate in class.

This method also includes the same principles of discipline and respect that karate upholds. Students should enter the classroom in silence, prepared with all the necessary items required for the lesson. They are also expected to bow to their instructor and their peers before and after the lesson. Learners sit cross-legged and should not begin playing without being instructed to do so - to do otherwise is seen as being disrespectful.

Students are also graded by coloured belts in the following sequence: white, yellow, orange, green, purple, blue, red, brown and lastly, black. With each level progressed, students earn the next ranked colour belt. To make the experience even more exciting, some teachers add trinkets or special charms to the belts for good behaviour or extra effort.

In recorder karate however, there are no kicks, punches or duels which determine grading. To the contrary, it is determined by familiar songs which increase in technicality according to each level progression. For white belts, students must successfully play, "Hot Cross Buns", a song including notes, B, A and G. The final song required to achieve a black belt is Beethoven's, "Ode to Joy", consisting of notes, D, E, F#, G, A, B, and C.

Through the implementation of this method, some teachers have noticed definite advantages. Learners who usually lack enthusiasm, are more eager to participate in class. Some teachers have even encountered students practicing and assisting each other in their lunch breaks, Also, children become more open-minded to receiving instruction and are more willing to learn.

Much like every teaching method there have been noticeable cons too. Some learners may struggle to keep up with the pace of the class and become discouraged. There are also teachers who disagree with the competitive nature of recorder karate. Still others encourage competition and claim that it is assists students to reach their learning potential.

As with all methods of teaching, it is adapted by each instructor to suit the needs and concentration levels of their respective classes. Some prefer to spend entire lessons on it while others dedicate only ten to twenty minutes to learning the new songs. Some instructors even make use of different songs and increase the number of belts to be earned to other colours like gold and silver.

Instructional guides on how to implement recorder karate in music lessons are available both in hard-copy form as well as online. These can be used in class and most are reproducible if the entire kit is purchased, so learners do not necessarily have to have their own copies. These books contain worksheets constructed to aid with the practice and understanding of musical scales and lessons. As with every teaching method, there are noticeable pros and cons, and teachers differ in their opinions of it. Most however, have emerged as avid fans of it, claiming that it is effective and extremely useful for fun-filled and engaging learning.

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