Saturday, January 12, 2013

Recorder Extras

This is a follow-up to my earlier post, Recorders Rock! I thought I would add a couple more quick ideas that you might find useful.

Creative Cases

We use Yamaha recorders that are available in three colors. The students love the bright colors, and they have a nice tone quality. However, the plastic recorder cases are not very durable. Some students replace their torn cases with creative things ranging from socks to fabric or hand-knit cases.

After I warned my fourth graders this year about the need to be careful with the cases to help them last as long as possible, a few students decided to take a proactive role. I have seen creative cases this year, and some look more difficult than others to make. I spotted these duct tape reinforced cases in class this week, and thought they were an ingenious way to make the cases cute and durable.

Recorder Rewards

We use Artie Almeida's Recorder Express as the main source in our recorder curriculum, and belts (colored yarn) are awarded as students achieve new levels with recorders. We enhance the curriculum with music from Don Muro's Give Me Five, and Easy 8, as well as recorder songs found in Music K-8 issues. Check out B A Superhero (by M.C. Handel/arr. by Paul Jennings, Music K-8, Vol. 16, No. 1). This song is always a favorite with our beginning recorder players.

You may like to follow a set curriculum for rewards, such as Barb Philipak's Recorder Karate. However, don't be afraid to customize rewards to fit your students' needs. We select the songs for belts from Recorder Express, since the students have their own books at home to use for practice. The following is a chart of song choices we currently use for each reward level:
Check out my latest post for information about visuals
for these songs that have improved my students' progress:

Recorder Roll

I created a chart to keep up with recorder belt levels. You can download the Word document using the link below.

I hope your new year is off to a great start!

13 comments :

  1. I love your roll chart. This is something that I have always wanted to do but have never taken the time to create. I'm definitely going to start this with 4th grade this year. It will be a good way for me to keep track of who needs a bit of extra help. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thanks, Emily. I'm glad you like it and can use it. I usually just place checkmarks when they earn a belt. Some years, I've used a symbol system that would indicate an attempt, such as a dot, then a line, for the first two attempts (on different occasions), then a plus when they pass.

    My coworker actually writes the date when the belt is earned in each box, which I think is a good idea, too.

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  3. I also noticed that several of my students had reinforced their recorder cases with colorful duct tape as well. I love the idea. Next year I might offer colorful duct tape at the beginning of the year and take time when we receive them to decorate the cases.

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  4. I love your blog, Laura! B A Superhero is one of my favorites too :) I'm still trying to figure out my recorder style, because I hate taking away class time for testing! Do you have your own method?

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  5. Love your blog. Thanks so much for being a sharer!
    Question: do your students have to master both songs when there are two listed next to belt?

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    1. Thanks, Elaine! That is a great question. I should have clarified that I give them a choice of songs for some of the belts. I had some go-getters this year that mastered the black, so I let them pick their own belt songs for rainbow. They did a good job of picking challenging songs. I may have to add more belts, like silver and gold.

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  7. Nebraska music teacherJuly 19, 2014 at 12:25 AM

    Laura-thanks for all the great ideas! I use Recorder Express and was so happy to find your karate resources. Question: do you require your students to play both pieces listed for each belt, or just one? Just curious....not sure what will work best. Thanks!

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    1. We provide a couple of options, and students select one piece to play for their belt. They like to have a choice, and we just try to make the songs cover similar objectives for each belt.

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    2. If you use Recorder Express, you might really enjoy my latest post: http://www.makemusicrock.com/2016/01/kicking-it-with-recorder.html

      I am loving my new PowerPoint that includes all of the belt pieces for 10 levels.

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  8. Is there a way to type in the teacher name, grade and student names?

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    1. Yes, Patti. It's a Word document, so you just have to download it first. Click on the arrow pointing down at the horizontal line, and it should download onto your computer and allow you to edit.

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