When I taught elementary music, I used Barb Philipak's Recorder Karate: a wonderful resource for getting students to love to play recorders!  Students changed from disliking recorder to loving it (according to my observation and classroom teacher comments to me about the student's change of attitude.) When I started teaching band again, I couldn't resist: I used the Recorder Karate idea for my band students.

I selected appropriate music from easy to hard - at appropriate grade level - for each kind of instrument.  (I prepared packets for the students who wanted to go the extra mile and achieve a black belt certificate!) The students would practice the pieces - in sequential order - and play them for me. They knew I would not give them the belt unless everything was pristine: correct fingering/pitches, counts, articulations, key signature, etc. (By doing this, the belts became a source of real pride!)

The belts: I used yarn. (I still have a lot of yarn left over and its 2017!)  

The color sequence is as follows: whiteyellow, gold, orangegreenbluepurplebrownred, and black.

The students figured out a place to display the belts on their instruments and were so proud!  Parents were also proud when they saw them on the instruments at concerts. Note: I used hair bands as the attachment source.  The yarn was about 8 inches long and tied to the hair bands.  The hair bands were different sizes based upon the size of the instruments.

It's a wonderful way to get the students excited about practicing! Respectfully, Pamela Rezach

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