Category Archives: Homeschool Musical Fun

Learn ASL (American Sign Language) Through Music

YAMS 2Have you ever seen an ASL (American Sign Language) translator interpret a speech, a discussion or a song?  It’s an amazing ballet of graceful movement and dynamic expression.  In fact, although it doesn’t use words or sounds at all, ASL is an amazing language that may already be part of your family’s life!

What is ASL?

If you are deaf or hearing impaired or have a family member or friend who is deaf or who signs, you already know what American Sign Language is.  If you don’t, here is one of the best definitions, from the NICED:

“American Sign Language (ASL) is a complete, complex language that employs signs made by moving the hands combined with facial expressions and postures of the body. It is the primary language of many North Americans who are deaf and is one of several communication options used by people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.”

Watch And Learn

Although becoming fluent in ASL could take years, it can be fun to dive in and BRW ASLlearn basic words by taking a course, studying online or – my favorite – by using music.  A few months ago I began to create ASL videos of my most popular songs and their links are below.  In addition to these songs, I’ve asked a wonderful ASL interpreter named Destiny Yabro (seen in the videos) to create extra videos explaining and demonstrating 10 signs from each song.  Below is the current list of ASL “Sign Along With Me” videos, but please bookmark and check back as I frequently add more.

Do you have a favorite DARIA song?  If so, contact me at dariamusic at yahoo dot com under the heading ASL Suggestion and I just might do your favorite song next.  Also, if you are a teacher and need these videos for your students in a format other then Youtube, please check out my TPT site, where you can stream them for use in the classroom.

DARIA’s VIDEOS on YOUTUBE

You Are My Sunshine – 10 Signs Demonstrated
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZPqfq4Bx6c

Beautiful Rainbow World – Signed in ASL
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGLg0-wtXoU

Beautiful Rainbow World – 10 Signs Demonstrated
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG_7OGoxHmg

For All The World’s Children – Signed in ASL
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mAuhwBytm0

For All The World’s Children – 10 Signs Demonstrated
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeDXLG34l7I

DARIA’s ASL VIDEOS ON TPThttps://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/World-Music-With-Daria/Category/American-Sign-Language-ASL-336179

Resources And Links
What is ASL From The NAD – https://www.nad.org/…/american-sign-language/what-is-american-sign-language/
What is ASL From The NIH – https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/american-sign-language

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28 Kids Crafts To Reuse Plastic Straws

drying strawsAre you trying to use less plastic?

I meet more and more parents who are striving to use less packaging and plastic products.  And it’s really encouraging to even see big companies – like Starbucks and the entire Marriott hotel chain – phasing out plastic straws altogether!  But even if you are the most recycling-conscious family, you’ve probably ended up with some of those pesky plastic straws and wondered what to do with them.

Instead of tossing them into the waste stream, here are a host of great activities that reuse these not-so-disposable items and are fun and productive kid’s crafts as well.

Clean Your Straws

If you’ve ended up with straws from juice, smoothies or soft drinks you can easily clean them off before you craft with them.  Rinse them in soapy water and let them stand them in a jar or glass for a few minutes (as seen above).  In no time at all, they’ll be clean and ready to be used in any of the crafts below!

Straw Rattles Completed On YellowA Quiet Rattle

We love this craft!  It is fun to make, also reuses plastic bottles and creates a quiet rattle that is never too loud, even when playing with bunches of friends!  And if the straws you’ve used are colorful, they make wonderful patterns of colors as you shake them along to music.

What To Do

Cut the straws into small lengths, anything the size of a small bead to about an inch long.  Cut them all the same length or mix up the sizes.  And if you have straw pieces left, they are perfect for the sensory bins listed below or even the friendship bracelets!

To create the rattle, simply allow your child to drop any number of their favorite colors and sizes into the plastic bottle.  When it looks and sounds perfect to your little one, put on the cap and seal with a sturdy electrical tape.  This keeps the contents inside the rattle and makes the end-product child-safe.

Note: while creating any of these crafts, make sure the small pieces of straws don’t go in a child’s mouth.

More Musical Straw Crafts!

josef playing straw zamponasPanpipes Made From Straws
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/make-your-own-simple-panpipes/

Use straws as the contents to a “Roly Poly” Thing
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/babies-and-music/make-a-roly-poly-musical-thing/

Use straws as the contents to an ocean drum
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/babies-and-music/make-an-ocean-drum-for-world-oceans-day/

maracas - back to schoolUse straws as the contents to a set of maracas
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/an-easy-musical-craft-for-young-children-back-to-school-maracas/

Other Straw Crafts You’ll Love!

Sensory Bin With Straw Pieces – From Teaching Mama
https://teachingmama.org/plastic-straw-sensory-bin/

20 Assorted Drinking Straw Crafts For Kids- From Meraki Lane https://www.merakilane.com/20-drinking-straw-crafts-for-kids/

Simple Friendship Bracelets Made with Pipe cleaners and “Straw Beads” – From Kiwi Co – https://www.kiwico.com/diy/Arts-and-Crafts-Ideas/1/project/Straw-Bracelets/1169

More Crafty And Elegant Straw Bead Bracelets – Tutorial below and here’s hoping you reduce, reuse recycle and rock out with any of the crafts you’ve found here!

This Earth Day – Turn Plastic Into Something Fantastic!

Screen shot 2018-04-19 at 11.38.43 PMThis year’s Earth Day theme is End Plastic Waste! We hope you’ve been reading about this topic and moved to make changes in your own life. But, what about plastic you already have in your recycling bin? Creating fun recycling projects with kids will help them see plastic waste as more than just “use it and lose it” trash. As you practice the 5 R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Remove) you can upcycle out of the waste cycle into 5 great-sounding musical instruments.

This Earth Day, I’m offering my TURN PLASTIC INTO MUSIC E-book free, and you can download it at the link below. (If you are an educator with a limited budget and read this post after the E-book has returned to full price, you can always e-mail me at dariamusic at yahoo dot com for an educator’s copy.)Screen shot 2018-04-19 at 11.38.58 PM

The five projects in this book include amazing-sounding maracas from mini-sized water bottles, Latin American guiros and Aboriginal bullroarers from plastic bottles with various sizes of mouths. There’s also two crafts that use plastic straws – zampoñas or panpipes and a kaleidoscope straw rattle.

And really… wouldn’t you rather make music than contribute to something like this?  Below is a video taken in Cameroon, Africa several year ago.  This year school children in this region are committed to ending plastic waste and changing what you see here!

Links And Resources

TURN PLASTIC INTO MUSIC – E-book Free Until Earth Day 2018 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Recycling-Projects-TURN-PLASTIC-INTO-MUSIC-5-Multicultural-Music-Activities-3747012

 Earth Day Organization – Tool kits for Individuals, Schools, Organizations, and More! https://www.earthday.org/

5 R's official posterFree 5 R’s poster - https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/5-Rs-RESPECT-THE-EARTH-Earth-Day-Poster-Freebie-3743747

How Long Does It Take Garbage To Decompose https://www.thebalance.com/how-long-does-it-take-garbage-to-decompose-2878033

Meet The Zero Waste Pioneers https://us-mg5.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?.rand=0fm9p2d7jlhgu#4735222175

Scientists Discover Enzyme That Eats Plastic https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/scientists-accidentally-create-super-enzyme-that-can-devour-plastic-pollution/

What Are You Singing For Groundhog’s Day?

Daria_GroundhogCover_Web

I just love groundhog’s day!  Maybe it’s because groundhogs are so cute and cuddley. Or I was born somewhat near the permanent residence of Punxatawney Phil, official groundhog predictor of Spring. Or because groundhogs  have adorable nicknames such as whistle pigs and woodchucks.

So, for so many reasons I couldn’t just crawl back into my hole for 6 more weeks of winter and I jumped at the chance to write and record a silly Groundhog’s Day song.

groundhog pop-up hereThe simple song is based around the tongue-twister “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck… if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” I also wondered how much ground a groundhog could grind and how much sap a sapsucker could suck. And, yes, even though the lyrics are in song form, the tongue twisters still are a challenge to sing or say.

You can find the song lyric freebie below, plus a link to a sweet Springtime activity that includes pop-up puppets. It’s a fun way of having your own groundhog’s day anytime and anywhere.

And the best thing? You can laugh yourself silly while you predict an early Spring!

Links and Resources

Groundhog’s Day Song – Free Lyric Sheet – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Groundhogs-Day-Song-Lyric-Sheet-2357681

Groundhog’s Day Song From Itunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-groundhog-song-how-much/id385842751

Groundhog’s Day MYO Pop-Up Puppet Activity from TPT – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Groundhogs-Day-Song-and-Pop-Up-Groundhog-Puppet-Activity-484374

little groundhogs

Learn A Song In Quechua for Native American Heritage Month

yaw yaw girlIf you enjoy this song, you can listen to it at the Spotify, Apple Music or Pandora links below.

November is Native American Heritage Month and it’s a great time to connect with the rich cultures that exist thoroughout North and South America – as well as the world. Here’s an easy song to learn and sing that comes from Quechua culture and I’m proud to say that my version of this folksong from Peru is being used by children’s choruses across the USA.

What Is Quechua?

Quechua is a beautiful indigenous language that was spoken widely throughout South America during the time of the Incas.  When Spanish Conquistadors arrived at that continent, dialects of Quechua were spoken in countries now known as Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Bolivia as well as the southern part of Columbia and the northern regions of Argentina.

Yaw, Yaw, Puka Polleracha

So here’s the song and a video of the song. The lyrics are simple. Someone is calling to a girl in the red skirt (puka = red, polleracha = skirt, yaw = hey). The person singing says “I saw what you did and I am going to tell your mom and dad on you!”

Learn More About Quechua and A Child’s Life In The Andes

If you like the song, you can find the complete lyric sheet, plus two language freebies below. These are a great way to learn about Quechua and get a sense of what the language sounds like and what some common words and phrases are.

zampoña boyAnd remember, all folk songs that come from a specific culture describe life in that world.  If you enjoy the song, you might like to check out my E-book: A Child’s Life In The Andes that shares more about the music, the food, the chores and the day to day life of children in this beautiful indigenous culture.

Links And Resources

Listen to Yaw, Yaw on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/77JSyFW5OINqMGOA0cvNa7

Listen to Yaw, Yaw on Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/beautiful-rainbow-world/id208109471

Listen to Yaw, Yaw on Pandora: https://www.pandora.com/artist/daria…world/yaw-yaw…/TRkZwmVbKqthXf4

Yaw Yaw – Free Lyric Sheet  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Yaw-Yaw-Puka-Polleracha-Free-Lyric-Sheet-Song-In-Quechua-3340027

Quechua Mini-Lesson for Kids (TPT Freebie) https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Quechua-Language-Mini-Lesson-For-Kids-Colors-Numbers-And-Common-Words-2825911

Learn About Quechua Language – For Kids (TPT Freebie) https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Quechua-Language-For-Kids-Verbs-Common-Phrases-and-Notes-on-Spelling-2825952

Yaw Yaw Sheet Musichttps://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Yaw-Yaw-Puka-Polleracha-Sheet-Music-2707454

A Child’s Life In the Andes E-Book and CD of Andean Music https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Childs-Life-In-The-Andes-E-Book-Plus-Music-CD-639838

Make Your Own Castanets And The Hispanic Heritage Blog Hop!

Eli and Button CastanetsHispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15th) presents a wonderful opportunity for creative play that introduces the music and musical instruments found in Hispanic cultures around the world. And it’s a great way to teach as well.

While discovering world cultures with Hispanic roots, you can learn about rhythms, patterns, counting and language and develop coordination and motor skills. You can also add your own creative or artistic flair to any of the instruments you create.

Here is a really easy craft version of traditional castanets and some great musical play activities to try as well.  And don’t forget to check out all the great posts and prizes that are a part of this Hispanic Heritage blog hop. Below!

Click, Click, Castanets!

wooden castanetsHave you ever watched a flamenco dancer play amazing rhythms with wooden castanets? You can make your own version with buttons plus a bit of heavy poster board. Then you can click and clack and dance away!

You can find the craft tutorial free, here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Button-Castenets-Tutorial-3436732 

Once you’ve made your colorful castanets, here are some music activities you might like to try:

Try making several pairs with different size or shape buttons.

Make a pair for parent (or teacher) and child and play the same rhythm together.

Try making a rhythm by clicking right hand then left hand, right hand and left hand. Try this slowly and then get faster.

click and clack the castanetsTry making a rhythm by different patterns of right hand and left hand clicks. For instance, Right hand, Right hand. Left!

Try playing along to music from Spain. Can you find patterns that fit the music?

Try playing along to any of your favorite music. Can you find patterns that fit with what you are hearing?

Try a call and response game. The parent or teacher makes one rhythm and the child must repeat what they hear.

Try a call and response game with eyes closed.  Switch places and let the child lead a call and response game.

Enjoy your music and celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month!

Hispanic Heritage Month Series 2017 | Multicultural Kid BlogsWe are so excited for our sixth annual Hispanic Heritage Month series and giveaway! Through the month (September 15 – October 15), you’ll find great resources to share Hispanic Heritage with kids, plus you can enter to win in our great giveaway and link up your own posts on Hispanic Heritage!

September 15
Embracing Diversity on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 10 Fun Facts About Dominican Republic

September 18
Spanish Mama: Nazca Lines – Exploratory Art Project

September 19
Hispanic Mama: Fun Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Your Children

September 20
Inspired by Family: 16 Great Children’s Books About South America

September 21
Spanish Mama: Folk Songs in Spanish

September 25
Spanish Playground: Food from Latin America Infographic Picture Cards Activities

September 26
All Done Monkey: 60+ Hispanic Heritage Month Recipes to Try with Kids

September 27
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Hispanic Inspired Crafts for Kids

September 28
Kid World Citizen: 35+ Best Resources and Activities to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

September 29
Pura Vida Moms on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Costa Rican Food – 9 Favorite Recipes

October 2
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 10 Fun Facts About Puerto Rico

October 3
Mama Tortuga: 10 Most Used Medicinal Plants

October 5
Spanglish House: How Do Hispanics Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and Why Should You?

October 11
La Clase de Sra DuFault

October 12
Tiny Tapping Toes

Don’t miss all of the great posts from previous years as well: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway!

Giveaway begins September 15 and goes through October 15, 2017. Enter below for a chance to win one of these amazing prize packages! Some prizes have shipping restrictions. In the event that a winner lives outside the designated shipping area, that prize will then become part of the following prize package. For more information, read our full giveaway rules.

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 Grand Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Grand Prize

From Mariana Iranzi: A digital copy of her new CD Primavera
From Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: A print copy of Cántale a tu bebé with music download – US Shipping Only
From 123 Andrés: A copy of the CD Arriba Abajo (digital copy if outside the US)
From Spanish Playground: Set of books, crafts, and toys from Latin America - US Shipping Only
From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only
From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US)
From World Music with Daria: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Musical Craft and Coloring E-Book
From Gus on the Go: Spanish Alphabet Print (US Shipping Only) & single-use promo code for Spanish for kids language app
From Lectura Para Niños: A set of printable little readers, one for each letter of the Spanish alphabet. Designed to last the entire school year, with one new book each week plus several review weeks included throughout the set

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

1st Prize

From Mariana Iranzi: A digital copy of her new CD Primavera
From Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: A print copy of Cántale a tu bebé with music download – US Shipping Only
From 123 Andrés: A copy of the CD Arriba Abajo (digital copy if outside the US)
From Spanish Playground: Set of books, crafts, and toys from Latin America – US Shipping Only
From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only
From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US)
From World Music with Daria: Set of maracas and a Spanish fan – US Shipping Only
From Gus on the Go: Spanish Alphabet Print (US Shipping Only) & single-use promo code for Spanish for kids language app

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 2nd Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

2nd Prize

From Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: A print copy of Cántale a tu bebé with music download – US Shipping Only
From 123 Andrés: A copy of the CD Uno, Dos, Tres, Andrés! (digital copy if outside the US)
From Spanish Playground: Set of books, crafts, and toys from Latin America – US Shipping Only
From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only
From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US)
From Lee and Low Books: Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad; Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris; Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterreste; Marisol McDonald and the Monster/Marisol McDonald y el monstruo – US Shipping Only

Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway 2017 - Third Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

3rd Prize

From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only
From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US)
From Sarah Aroeste: A copy of the new Ladino/English bilingual picture book Ora de Despertar/Time to Wake UpUS Shipping Only
From Arte Público Press: Picture books Esteban de Luna, Baby Rescuer! / Esteban de Luna, ¡rescatador de bebés!, The Little Doctor / El doctorcito, Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia, Grandma’s Chocolate / El chocolate de Abuelita, I Kick the Ball / Pateo el balón, Level Up / Paso de nivel, A Surprise for Teresita / Una sorpresa para TeresitaUS Shipping Only

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 Bonus Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Bonus Prizes

We are giving away an extra copy of the CD Mundo Verde/Green World from Mister G (US Shipping Only) and up to 10 digital downloads of this brand new album: Watch a video of the title track!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Free Music Resources For Hispanic Heritage Month

HHM Mini poster freeCan you believe that Hispanic Heritage Month is almost here?

It’s celebrated every year from September 15th – October 15th and it’s a great time to connect, explore and enjoy the beauty and diversity of Hispanic cultures around the globe.  For the past several years, I’ve been adding free items to my TPT store to share with teachers, parents and homeschoolers who want to have some hands-on fun as part of their HHM experience.

Here’s our most recent list of HHM freebies that share the culture and musical traditions of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and Spain.

Wishing you a wonderful Hispanic Heritage Month!

FREE RESOURCES

Make Your Own Guirohttps://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Latin-American-Guiro-1230266

josef and cajonMake Your Own Cajon Box Drumhttps://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Cajon-Make-And-Play-Your-Own-Box-Drum-1236616

What Is A Quijada (Jawbone Instrument https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-is-a-Quijada-Jawbone-Instrument-1406336

Mini-Poster (seen above) https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Celebrate-Hispanic-Heritage-With-Music-Free-Mini-Poster-1430823

Mariachi Guitar Coloring Page -  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mariachi-Guitar-Coloring-Page-2511636

Charango Coloring Page -  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Charango-Instrument-Coloring-Page-2819105

Screen shot 2014-09-27 at 4.30.37 PMColor The Chapchas – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-The-Chapchas-An-Instrument-from-The-Andes-650050

Color The Zampoñas (Panpipes) – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-the-Zamponas-Panpipes-From-The-Andes-650601

Color The Bombo Drum – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-A-Bombo-A-Drum-From-The-Andes-650642

Lyric Sheet  – Bilingual La Cucaracha https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/La-Cucaracha-Lyric-Sheet-Bilingual-Version-2863996

Discover Music Of Iceland With Children

For many people, Iceland is a dream vacation. It’s a land of geysers, glaciers, Langspilvolcanoes, thermal lagoons, whales, exotic seabirds and gorgeous scenery. If you’re on your way to the land of ice with your children or if you are simply studying this part of the world, here’s a fun way to explore the music of that culture.

Color A Langspil

One of the traditional instruments of Iceland is a stringed zither called the langspil. Dating back at least to the 1700’s, this instrument was often made of driftwood and played either by plucking it or using a bow, like a fiddle. The resulting sound was haunting and beautiful. You can hear a langspil in this video from an outstanding folk duo from Iceland, Duo Svanni (Júlía Traustadóttir Kondrup and Hildur Wågsjö Heimisdóttir).

Iceland For Kids!

Music is a wonderful place to start any exploration of another country or culture. Below you can find links to fun facts, common phrases in Icelandic, traditional clothing, things to do with children in Iceland and a post about an Icelandic rock music group that actually recorded a video of a song inside a volcano.

Enjoy your Icelandic Adventure!

Links And Resources

Free Langspil Coloring Page: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Langspil-Icelandic-Instrument-Coloring-Page-3362012

Kyra - Iceland - WaterfallLangspil Mini-poster, Coloring page + Activities:  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Langspil-Icelandic-Instrument-Mini-Poster-Coloring-Page-3362044

Iceland Facts For Kids: http://www.kids-world-travel-guide.com/iceland-facts.html

Icelandic Words And Phrases To Learn: https://icelandwithkids.com/2017/03/26/icelandic-words-and-phrases-to-learn-or-not/

Traditional Clothing Of Iceland:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_national_costume

Iceland With Kids – A Family of Seven Visit Iceland And Offer Tips and Info
https://icelandwithkids.com/

Icelandic Music From Inside A Volcano: https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/rocking-icelandic-music-from-inside-a-volcano/

Introducing The Music of China To Children

Hi! I’m Elizabeth, a mother and music teacher. I’m thrilled to be guest-posting on Tiny Tapping Toes today about Chinese music- I’m excited to connect with you and share some of my ideas!
china post ttt graphic
As a music teacher who grew up among cultures, I am passionate about introducing children to music from cultures other than their home culture. Although it can be intimidating to share a culture with your children that you aren’t that familiar with yourself, it can be such a rewarding learning experience for everyone, and the benefits are incredible! Today I want to share some of my favorite simple ways to introduce the music and culture of China to young children.

I know this is not exactly a traditional way to start, but I usually use a clip or two of 12 Girls Band to first introduce children to Chinese music. This is a great one:

Also this:

We of course discuss which instruments are traditionally Chinese and which or not- that part is pretty clear- but it is a great way to showcase many of the instruments from China, see how they are played and what they sound like, and also get a taste of what Chinese music is like while still sounding somewhat familiar- this is like the gateway to exploring the traditional music that will sound more foreign and strange to their ears. Plus it is so much fun!I use these recordings as a starting point to jump into a discussion of Chinese instruments, including the erhu, xiao, dizi, pipa, guzheng (duzheng), and yangqin.

After showing one of the “Twelve Girls Band” videos, I usually show them pictures of each instrument, tell them the name of each one, and see if they noticed how each one is played, or what familiar instrument it is most similar to. Then we watch one more video and I have them point out and identify each instrument as we see it. I use that as an introduction to Chinese music as a whole, but in subsequent lessons I will show them short clips of each instrument in a more traditional setting. This one is great for showing short excerpts of lots of different instruments:

I have used a lot of different songs in my classes over the years. There is so much that is included, both historically and geographically, when we talk about “Chinese music”, that it’s honestly hard for me to pick one song! The last few years I have used “Cowboy” (I know, you’re already thinking what? stay with me…). I don’t generally like to teach songs from other cultures with translated lyrics- I think it takes away from giving the students an authentic presentation of the song- so I always try to find songs that have fewer lyrics while still being interesting. This one fits the bill (although, let’s be honest, we are talking about a rather difficult language for English speakers- it will still take some time!) and has some great possibilities for discussions about Chinese history, architecture, and/or geography. You can find the original lyrics, the translation, the notation, and a sung recording on Mama Lisa’s website here.

With any of the songs that I use, I will usually add some simple rhythms on percussion instruments. Here is an example of some of the percussion parts I might add (this one has tambourine, hand drum, and finger cymbals):

Gongs, triangles, and rhythm sticks would also be good choices for adding some quick instrument accompaniment.

One more thing that I like to cover is Beijing (Peking) Opera. I don’t introduce this genre until we are well into our study of Chinese music, because I don’t want students to immediately start laughing or draw back in disgust, but it is such a significant part of Chinese music that I think it is important for students to at least be exposed to it when they study the music of China in general. I usually use a clip from this video to show in class (it is nice because it has the English translation underneath- so it is important to check and make sure the material is appropriate before you show it! I haven’t come across anything that is not, but I haven’t watched the whole thing so please do check beforehand):

I usually introduce the genre by telling students that Beijing opera is one of the most famous forms of Chinese music historically. I also tell them in advance that it is going to sound and look very different from what they are expecting, but that I want them to tell me what they notice after watching.  Most students tell me that they notice the performers moving with the instruments, their makeup and costumes are very dramatic, and they sound like they are half-singing and half-speaking. We often end up having a very good conversation about what the definition of music is, because there are usually some students who question whether or not this “counts” as music at all! You can learn more about the genre here and here.

I hope you found some new ideas for exploring Chinese music and culture with your children! Thank you so much to Daria for letting me share my ideas on her site. I’d love to hear from you! If you’d like to stay in touch with me, please head on over to my site, Organized Chaos, where I share resources and thoughts to give parents and teachers the freedom to be creative through purposeful organization and broadened perspectives. You can find more posts on sharing music from other cultures right here. I hope you’ll stop in to say hello!

Links And Resources

Make Your Own Chinese Gong Craft
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Chinese-Gong-From-Recycled-Materials-486935

Color A Chinese Erhu
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chinese-Instrument-Erhu-Free-Coloring-Page-3236532

Bolang Gu creft + real oneMake Your Own Bolang Gu Chinese Pellet Drum!
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/chinese-mandarin/make-your-own-bolang-gu-chinese-pellet-drum/

Seven Days of Learning Mandarin Through Music
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/chinese-mandarin/7-days-of-learning-mandarin-chinese-through-music/

Win 12 Great Multicultural Summer Music Projects

Summer Camp TPT CoverMusic camp?  Backyard staycation?  Last minute playdate?  We’ve created this fun compilation of activity pdf’s from our readers favorite projects for summer musical fun.  Not only are all these crafts made from items you already have around the house but they also teach about the cultural background of each instrument – such as Hawaiian pu’ili rhythm sticks or Aboriginal Australian didgeridoos and bilma clapsticks. And everything is so simple that even a grown-up can do it!

Want to win a copy? Jump on in right here!  Two lucky winners will get the this fun compilation so they can musically craft their way all around the world this summer.

If you can’t wait to get it, the TPT link is below – and it’s half price during the month of July. Plus there are links to related summer musical fun.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Links And Resources

12 Great Summer Crafts from DARIA’s TPT store – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/12-Summer-Camp-Music-Crafts-3243132

Make An Ocean Drum From Recycled Materials – http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/babies-and-music/make-an-ocean-drum-for-world-oceans-day/

Make A Rhythm Tree: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/a-rhythm-tree-for-earth-day-or-any-day/

Make An Earth Day Nature Walk Rattle: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/make-an-earth-day-nature-walk-rattle/