Recorder Karate Ideas Galore!

So, I have seen a TON of good ideas on Pinterest for Recorder Karate.  So, I thought to myself, why not compile them all in one place?  :)  Here's some info on Recorder Karate and also some cool ideas I found.

What is Recorder Karate?
Basically, students master certain songs on their recorder to earn "karate belts."  It's a great idea and comes from this book.

What adaptations have people made?
I personally have found that you need a lot more than just the songs in the Recorder Karate book to help them be successful recorder players.  They need more in-between songs to help them learn the notes.  I have also found that I don't necessarily agree with the sequencing of the original book--shouldn't the black belt be harder than the blue belt?  So, this year I've taken Recorder Resource 1 and adapted it for my school to help there be a more sequential order.
Yes, it's a bit more expensive, but it's very sequential and it comes with Power Points that include the backgrounds to the songs.  I also like that it has a version of the songs with "kids notes."  Basically, the note name is written inside of the note head.  I think this is great for students who are getting additional help in reading--we should be differentiating our instruction in the music classroom too! 
So here is my version:
I made my own spots in the Recorder Resource Kit packet that are the required songs for each belt.  I pasted a cute little karate kid next to each song that is required for a belt.  Speaking of belts . . .

What do you use for Recorder Karate belts?
I used to use thin ribbons, but they often fell off of the recorder, and it took a long time to cut them all.  And I still hadn't found a good way to organize them.  I had also seen people use yarn--which is fine, but I wanted it to look a bit more fashionable :)  So then I saw this beautiful post on Pinterest about using loom bands and wahlah:
An organized assortment of Recorder Karate belts for $15.  It will last me for YEARS before I have to get more.  AND they are latex-free!!
Here's what they look like on the recorders:
Pretty sweet!  And I also bought silver, striped, and glow-in-the-dark belts for my students to earn if they get to their black belt.  FYI--I also keep track of their progress in a notebook, so they can't just go home and add some loom bands to their recorder . . .

And now the biggest question--HOW TO SHOW THEIR PROGRESS!!
This is where there are lots of great ideas on Pinterest.
Here is my set-up for this year:
Each belt has it's own colored paper in the back of the room (with a cute clip art from the original Recorder Karate book--if you want that clip art, it's worth buying the book for it!).  

Then, each student has their own clip that they put on the belt they have most recently earned.   I also used the clip art to make these :)

Other great ideas I saw on Pinterest:  (Click on the picture to get to the pin.)

And here are some other cool Recorder Karate pins that may peak your interest:
Storage Ideas:
Belt Ideas:
Other assessment tools:
How to use recorder karate with Recorder Express:
Differentiation with SMARTBoards and iPads:

Practicing tips for students:

Organization and procedure tips:
Procedure ideas:

     I would also recommend posting recorder rules somewhere in your room along with the fingering charts for the notes they have learned.  
     Hope it was helpful to have all of these ideas in one place!!  Feel free to comment with any ideas you have used--I would love to hear them!


  1. Its really a great ides"Recorder Karate". I appreciated your work and also helpful for me.

    1. Glad you found it helpful! Thanks for stopping by :) Jen

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. THE BANDS!!! This is genius! Unfortunately they don't work on the type of recorder we have this year. I may change what we use just so we can do the bands! Do the bands hold up well with the recorder going through the dishwasher?

    1. I typically take the bands off if the recorder needs to be washed. I'm not sure if they would hold up or not!