It's a music room not a dojo but you wouldn't know it by the zest, fight, and skill in the room. The Leading Tone has incorporated Recorder Karate to its curriculum and the students have been fine-tuning their skills to test for their next belt.
You may remember we recently added recorders for the third graders in our after school program. The addition of the woodwind instrument meant students could work to build their skill sets and their musical ability -- both in class and at home -- a very exciting proposition since up till recently, when it came to musical instruments, The Leading Tone had solely focused on bucket band. Bucket Band is an activity that helps students learn through play, imitation, and experimentation, but doesn't require the fine muscle control that recorders do. Now that the students have grown in their skills, we're helping them to develop finer motor control, which an be applied toward other instruments, and, as always -- the process of acquiring and developing a new skill can be an asset in real-world problem solving.
Recorder Karate is a positive reward system for teaching the recorder that involves a belt system, similar in style to traditional karate where students earn a belt when they reach a certain level of expertise. In Recorder Karate; however, students who successfully pass a test receive a "karate belt" to hang from their recorders, not to tie around their waists. The belt is a symbol of hard work, discipline and achievement. The belt system starts with no belt, then a white belt, then other colored belts on ascent toward the coveted black belt.
In Recorder Karate, basic music techniques are taught through a series of nine familiar songs. As students test and pass each belt, the songs become progressively more difficult in terms of concepts, notes and rhythm. The repertoire builds gradually from two G A B songs through the black belt song with D E F# G A B C D. Throughout the process, students learn proper fingering techniques, how to hold the recorder, how to read music, how to play and feel the recorder, how to care for their instrument, how to self-pace, and how to be a valuable contributing team player.
The Leading Tone recently graduated all of its students to white belts following their successful renditions of Hot Cross Buns. Some of our students have quickly moved on to achieve their orange, and yellow belts! It is exciting to see how our students are practicing on their own and embracing the new challenges in each test piece. Stay tuned!