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Recorder Karate



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Recorder Karate
By Barb Philipak
Book and CD  
45 pages
Grades 4 - 5

A beginning recorder method using 9 folk songs and familiar tunes; each piece is progressively harder than the last. Students are motivated by the goal of earning "karate belts" (not included) - a different color for each song they master. The author suggests using your own short pieces of embroidery thread to make the "belts", so that students can tie the different colored "belts" around the bell of their recorder as they earn them. Guidelines are given if you have other copy-permissible songs that you would like to use with the Recorder Karate teaching method. 

Copy-permissible pages include:

  • student song sheets and a cover page so that each student can have their own songbook
  • informational pages on the history, care, holding position and playing technique for the recorder
  • fingering chart; informational pages and worksheets for rhythms and notation
  • recorder quiz
  • "black belt" award sheet
  • sample letter to parents
  • attendance and progress charts
  • fun clip art. 

Each song sheet gives the pitches used, the number of beats or measures of introduction on the included CD, 1 verse of the song with lyrics underneath (no lyrics for Ode to Joy) and new concepts that are featured in that song. The first time a new note is used, the fingering for that note is given at the bottom of the page. 3 songs (When the Saints Go Marching In, Amazing Grace and Ode to Joy) also have separate "concert version" song pages, featuring longer arrangements with repeats or 1st and 2nd endings (notation only is given on these pages). Hot Cross Buns also has a page for using Orff instrument accompaniment. 

The included CD has 23 tracks of simple recordings to help in the practice and testing of the tunes. Each tune is first heard as a full recording followed by 1 or 2 versions of the accompaniment only; for the first 5 songs, the first accompaniment version is slower and the second is faster. CD tracks 24-29 feature special concert versions of When the Saints Go Marching In, Amazing Grace and Ode to Joy. The arrangements are slightly extended and each song has a recording of the full performance as well as a separate track with the accompaniment only.   

Recommended for grades 4-5, but can be adapted by using your own songs for younger or older students.

Note Progression: B, A, G, E, D, high C, high D, F#.


  • Hot Cross Buns
  • Gently Sleep
  • Merrily We Roll Along
  • It's Raining
  • Old MacDonald Had a Farm
  • When the Saints Go Marching In
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  • Amazing Grace
  • Ode to Joy
  • Concert Versions (3 songs)
  • History of the Recorder
  • Hot Cross Buns- Orff arrangement
  • Merrily We Roll Along- Iconic Setting


No reviews available.


Browse 2 questions and 26 answers
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Why did you choose this?
West Music Store
SUCH A GREAT HELP IN TEACHING RECORDER! The kids like the challenge of earning belts, and I like the way they've laid the program out. The songs aren't too terribly difficult either - it's a nice progression in learning.
Lara W on Apr 29, 2014
My kids love earning "belts" for the new techniques and songs they learn. This is a great starter program for teaching recorder.
International S on Oct 15, 2013
This is one of the best recorder resources. I've taught it with children in Afghanistan and Uganda. Children from all over the world are highly motivated to learn new songs and earn their recorder belts. This is the best solution to introducing recorders to new players.
Amanda E on Nov 5, 2013
Very successful even if you choose not to award the belts all of the way up to black. I use this in combination with several other books and I write some of my my own songs too (Mr. Merritt's Mama's March #1, etc.)
Phil M on May 16, 2013
Should I by just the one book or many books for the whole classroom?
Alison B on Jan 24, 2014
Best Answer: Hi Alison,
The book is intended as a Teacher's Handbook and permission is given for one teacher to duplicate as many copies of as many pages as needed for his/her classes. So you only want to buy one but you will be copying pages for your students. I switched to this system last year and have liked it so far. Good luck!
Reply · Report · Laura F on Jan 24, 2014
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