A couple of years ago, I was a guest on the OokTown Podcast, as the host, Stuart Yoshida, had mentioned in a previous program that the ukulele should replace the recorder. While I love (and I mean LOVE) the ukulele, I had fond memories of recorder, and I see its value in teaching the ability to read notation, to allow people to make music, and to prepare students for the possibility of band. So I wrote Stuart about this, and ended up being on the show, defending the recorder.
Fast forward to Fall 2019…I am now an elementary music teacher, preparing to teach recorder for the first time. I’m thrilled to start recorders soon. We have taken orders for student recorders (incidentally, we’re going with Peripole Halo Baroque Soprano Recorders), they’ll arrive soon, and we’re going to start. While I have heard about the method for years, we’ll also be following the Music K8 Karate Recorder program.
That said, there are some things I wanted to add, and some other resources, such as songs out of Don Muro’s “Easy 8” and “8 More ‘Easy’ Songs” that fit in the Recorder Karate sequence.
What I’m doing is I’m bringing these materials into video format to use in class, with multiple versions of the song in the same video (e.g. demo, performance with moving boxes, performance without moving boxes). I’d love to be able to share the videos–but I cannot as the material is copyrighted and doing so for my personal use is okay–but I cannot share these on YouTube, as I do my ukulele materials. With the ukulele materials, the copyright holder receives the revenue. There is no such format for Music K8 to receive that ad revenue…so this work stays private…and NOT on YouTube at all.
With rare exceptions…
As I am supplementing materials, I am occasionally going to have to write or create my own “song” to fill a need where Recorder Karate or Don Muro’s books have a gap. For example, I wanted some songs to lead up to the first belt of Recorder Karate, and Don Muro’s books introduce rhythms and meters for the note “G” that Recorder Karate does not approach until a later time. I can still use Don Muro’s work later…but I can’t use them when I want to. So I had to write my own song.
And since I wrote my own song, I can publish that on YouTube, so that you can see what I am doing. I wanted students to practice jumping between B, A, and G, so I wrote a little melody using the note values they had been introduced to, created an accompaniment with iRealB on my iPad, recorded myself on the recorder via GarageBand on the iPad (don’t be too harsh on my playing), and made a video. The only thing I included from Recorder Karate is the second slide showing the notes and rhythms, as I wanted the same font for all the videos with this material…but I have modified this material as well.
I am going to have some challenges ahead…I need alternative songs for the religious material in Recorder Karate (When the Saints, Amazing Grace, Ode to Joy) as well. I will give students the choice to play the existing songs in the method or to play an alternative song (I’ll just say that religious songs have been a hot topic behind the scenes in our district as of late).
Music K8 has a ton of great resources…I loved their ukulele song packs as well, and asked them if they would like me to make play alongs of them…and I never heard back. I’d offer them all of the videos I make of Recorder Karate–but I’m not sure they are offering that format.
I’m convinced that the use of video in instruction is essential in today’s world–our students are learning so many things through video, and it meets them where they are at…and videos like these can help bridge them to traditional formats as well. Yes, it takes time to create these videos…but it reaches them where they are at, and also become a force multiplier in the room…I can help students while the others play with a video, or we can even try centers with the videos in the future. There’s even the possibility that they could practice at home with the videos if they were contained in a non-shareable private/walled garden environment.
So…here is my creation of “Jumping Around” which is the last video that I’ll use before my students go for the White Belt of Recorder Karate. Look at the description of the video to know where to jump in the video.