Sunday, September 24, 2017

Making the Most of a Few Instruments

Using hand instruments in the music room seems like an obvious activity...unless you don't have many instruments.

How do you give your students the opportunity to play when you only have a few instruments?

First, choose an ACTIVITY that can be performed with both BODY PERCUSSION (clap, snap, pat, etc.) and hand INSTRUMENTS. You can adapt an Orff piece from some of the myriad of resources available or from your text series. Change it up: substitute body percussion for each of the parts and these will later evolve into instrument parts.

Disclaimer: Make sure you REALLY like the piece because you are going to hear it ALOT!!

EX. You have 5 triangles, 5 hand drums and 5 sets of rhythm sticks.

A) You teach everyone the 1st part with body percussion. Have them perform it successfully without you. Then have them perform the 1st part while you play the 2nd part. Teach them the 2nd part.

B) Divide the class into 2 groups. Have each group perform 1 of the patterns at the same time. Switch the parts giving students an opportunity to perform both parts. Then have them perform their parts while you perform the 3rd part. Teach them the 3rd part.

C) Divide your class into 3 groups. One group for each part - all using body percussion. Give every group an opportunity to play each part while the other parts are playing along too.

D) Now you add the INSTRUMENTS! YIPPEE! Demonstrate the proper way to hold and play each instrument.

E) Five kids out of group 1 play their rhythm on the triangles while the rest of Group 1 supports them with body percussion. Five kids out of group 2 play their rhythm on the hand drums while the rest of Group 2 supports them with body percussion. And the same for group 3 and the rhythm sticks.

F) Perform the piece several times. Then WITHIN EACH GROUP those who were playing the instrument will SWITCH back to body percussion and those who haven't played an instrument take their turns. Again perform the piece several times.

G) Now the groups will ROTATE to the next instrument. Group 1 kids will now play the hand drum part. Group 2 will now play the rhythm stick part. And Group 3 will now play the triangle part. Again, only about 1/2 of the students will be playing the instruments, the rest of the group will still be doing body percussion. Then SWITCH with the group.

H) REPEAT this one more time so that each group of students will have played all 3 of the instruments.

Use the space of the room you are teaching in and separate the groups physically. When you are ready to have the students move to the next space (group), have a SIGNAL. For example, before giving directions about where each group goes begin with "when I clap, group 1 goes to where group 2 is, group 2 goes...etc." The clap is the signal that they should be waiting for. If your students move before your signal, stop the class, have them go back to where they started and wait for the signal again. FYI having kids transition with NO SIGNAL = CHAOS!

I hope this was helpful. I'd love to hear how this worked for you so please leave a comment below.

Happy Honking! Ellen

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