YES! It’s Friday. Do you know how wonderful the word Friday is?? As Winter turns into Spring my want to be cuddled in a cocoon of blankets turns into a need to get up and GO. Don’t care where and don’t care for what I just want to go. I call it wanderlust, some people may call it Caged Animal Syndrome, and others..well it’s just Spring Fever. The week has really been a blur except for a few awesome teaching moments here and there. One that has stood out is how fast my 4th graders are catching on to recorder!
I’ve been using the Music K-8 Recorder Karate method for the past few years. I find the program effective and instead of individual belts for each 4th grader, I actually have each class earn belts as a whole. It holds everyone accountable and creates a positive and competitive learning environment where everyone is included because they compete for their belts against other classes. I put their belt boards up on the wall so each class can see where the other classes are.
My problem with recorder is with my schedule. I switch between two schools every marking period which makes learning recorder very hard if I was to divide it between quarters. So I have to cram in a whole year of recorder into 9 weeks. I have trouble keeping the kids on track if they go at such a fast speed earning belts. With the addition of the Quaver curriculum and sometimes just using ClassPlay, I came up with my own belt system (That REALLY works!) which students learn at a good pace, earn belts to keep them interested, and slowly build up the needed skills to play recorder. I added in some new belts to extend the learning. It is a mixed list between Quaver Recorder ClassPlay Songs and Music K-8 music.
White- Walk Like a Mummy/AAA/Glue Blues Each Quaver song builds the skill of each of the beginning three notes of B, A, and G. The class must play all three songs correctly to earn their first belt.
Yellow- Hot Cross Buns/ Gently Sleep Expanding on the first three notes of B,A,and G both of these songs put it all together and we use Hot Cross Buns from Quaver and Gently Sleep from Music K-8. Both songs must be completed before moving on.
Orange- Merrily We Roll Along Just upping the level of difficulty on B,A, and G. We talk about breathing at correct places and that is the main point I listen for in order for the belt to be earned.This is also out of Music K-8
Sheep- Perry the Sheep A Fun Quaver tune that gets the students singing and playing, it helps with getting ready to play a song quickly and songs with measures of rest in between.
Green- Recorder Shuffle A Quaver tune.Jumping up the tempo and adding 16th with our B,A,and G songs.
Purple- Miss Mary Mack Now we add the High C! Quaver is awesome.
Blue- When the Saints Reinforcing the High C and adding the high D. Students step right up to this Music K-8 song
Red- Recorder Buddy A Quaver tune that is a little faster but reinforcing the High C and D
Weather- It’s Raining Music K-8 helps my students discover the lower register of their recorders with a low E.
Brown- Old MacDonald Going on with Music K-8 This song adds another note of E to the lower register and we focus on articulation using the third line which stays on the same note.
Black- Ode to Joy Because what can you change about the legendary Music K-8 Black belt? NOTHING that’s what.
Hawaiian Hawaii 6-0 These last three I call my fun belts or my black strip belts. Mixing half and eight notes this Quaver tune makes a real splash with my kiddos
Gamer- Level Up Quaver Style DUETS! Great introduction to chords as we play like we are in Wreck it Ralph.
Bagpiper- Amazing Grace A traditional Music K-8 tune. The only reason I leave this for last is because I bring in my bagpipes sometimes and play along.
The most important part about this plan is that the student not only have stayed interested in the program and WANT and are EXCITED to come play in music is that I have been able to slow down the pace, give them time to practice, and have improved their skills times a million percent. When I was just doing the Music K-8 Recorder Karate I would have to write in notes and say notes. I haven’t had to do anything like that this year. The students are tracking, and reading all on their own with only a few students needing extra support. I had one class this week play through Merrily We Roll Along without my help and by themselves together as a group. I was getting ready to teach it to them and found out I didn’t need to. Let’s just say they earned their Orange belt pretty quickly!
Do you do Recorder Karate or Quaver Recorder in your classes? How do you teach it? In what ways do you make it your own?