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1. White Belt – Hot Cross BunsThe first Recorder Karate song is a “BAG” song, meaning it uses the notes B, A, and G. Refer to the pictures at the bottom of the page for information about how to read and finger each note.
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2. Yellow Belt – Gently SleepThe yellow belt song, “Gently Sleep,” is also a “BAG” song, but it is more difficult because there is a “leap” from B to G in the second and fourth measure, requiring you to put down two fingers at the same time. Play at a slow tempo. The “breath mark” apostrophe means “this is a good place to sneak in a breath between notes.” Note that the rhythm pattern is two quarter notes followed by a half note for each measure, “ta, ta, toooo.” Hold the third note for twice as long as the first two notes. The bottom line is the same as the top line. (There is actually a subtle difference. There is no “breath mark” at the end of the second line since the song is over!)
3. Orange Belt – Merrily We Roll AlongThe third of the three BAG songs is a variation of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
4. Green Belt – It”s Raining“It”s Raining” is the first two-handed song in Recorder Karate, introducing the E note (this is the “Every” in Every Good Boy Does Fine, found on the bottom line), as shown at the bottom of the page. In addition to the thumb hole, cover the top three holes with your left hand and the next two holes below it with your right hand. As we start playing lower in pitch the instrument requires us to blow withlessair. You will not need to use as much air to play the E as you did for B, A, and G.
5. Purple Belt – Old MacDonald Had a Farm“Old MacDonald” introduces a new note, D, which is played similar to the E learned in the previous song, except your right index finger will cover the pair of small holes below the middle finger”s hole. It will require even less air than the E.”Old MacDonald” is in AABA form, which means that the song is made up of two melodies, an A melody and a B melody. The A melody is played twice, then the B melody is played, then the A melody is played one last time. The A melody (as you would hum to “Old MacDonald had a farm, e-i-e-i-o” is fairly straightforward). If you learn it, that is 3/4 of the song.The trickiest part of the song for most players is the “B” section, which includes the note G played several times quickly (“here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a chick, chick”). Blow using a “t” sound to produce the notes quickly and precisely.
6. Blue Belt – When the Saints Go Marching InThis song, which uses only the left hand, includes two new notes – high C (C”), and high D (D”). (These are the “C” on the third space from the bottom that makes up the word “FACE” and the “D” on the fourth line from the bottom that represents the word “does” in “Every Good Boy Does Fine.”)The bottom of the page shows how to finger these. The C” can also be thought of as the same as an A but with the index finger raised. The D” is the same but with the thumb sliding off the thumb hole.”When the Saints Go Marching In” also uses tied notes. For example, when you see the tie between the whole note and the quarter note in the second and third measures, this is one (not two) breaths of air. (Think of it as “when the saaaaaaaints,” not “when the saints saints.”) The tied note is used here because the note is held for five beats and there is no symbol that means “hold the note for five beats.” (Since a whole note represents four beats and a quarter note represents one beat, tying them together makes five beats.)If the paragraph above has you confused, don”t worry! Watch the video, and it will make sense.
7. Red Belt – Twinkle Twinkle Little StarWe return to using two hands for “Twinkle, Twinkle.” This song includes F#, which I think of as being played like a (low) D but with the index finger on the right hand not covering the hole. Refer to the video for useful advice about playing this song easily and efficiently when switching between F# and E.(Because there is a sharp single on the high F line, every note head on F in the song represents F#, not F. The F#s in this song are on the first space from the bottom, representing the “F” in “FACE.”)
8. Brown Belt – Amazing GraceThis is one of the more difficult songs in Recorder Karate because it is in 3/4 time (waltz time – three beats per measure), and because “Amazing Grace” is a song most of us are less familiar with than standards like “Old MacDonald” we learned in kindergarten or even preschool.
9. Black Belt – Ode to Joy“Ode to Joy” may look long and intimidating, but it is actually fairly easily to play because the melody is made up of mostlystepsrather than leaps. You may recall that a “step” means moving from one note to the note above or below it, like D to E or F to G. A “leap” means moving from a note to a note that isnotnext to it, like moving from F to B.Note that this song uses both high D (fourth line in staff from bottom) and low D (right below the bottom line of staff), so make sure you are playing the correct D! You will know if you are not because it will sound wrong. The low D is only used once in the song – toward the end of the third line.The third line is the most difficult – particularly the second measure in the third line, so if you are struggling with that line it may help to practice just that part until you get it down. The third line also contains the song”s one leap, from A all the way down to the low D. This is the only time the right hand is used in the song. For this reason, hover your right hand fingers in position ready to play the D for the entire song.