Category Archives: Music and Hearing

Make An Ocean Drum for World Oceans Day

me and the dolphinHave you heard of World Oceans Day? Celebrated annually on June 8th, it’s an internationally recognized and celebrated day to learn, share, preserve and promote one of our most magnificent resources, the oceans and seas.

The World Oceans Days website (link below) is a wealth of information – including research on pollution, posters in 15 languages, and a variety of action steps that anyone can take to make a difference. Visit the site to learn how oceans regulate our climate, generate most of the oxygen we breathe, clean the water that we drink and so much more.

Want to combine your learning with a fun recycled music craft?  Here’s a way you can reduce, reuse, recycle and make a great homemade drum that sounds remarkably like the sea!

What Is An Ocean Drum?

If you live near the sea or have visited an ocean, you know the wonderful, traditional ocean drumrelaxing sound of waves coming and going along the seashore. An ocean drum is a 2 sided hand drum that – when played – sounds just like the surf. In fact, if you close your eyes, you can imagine you are right there on the beach, hearing the waves as they come and go.

Above is a picture of a traditional ocean drum.

Make Your Own Recycled Ocean Drum

blue ocean drum kimbertonCheck your recycling bin.  Do you have a sturdy pizza box or a mailing box with dimensions somewhat like the one seen here?  If you do, you can fill the bottom of the box with sand, salt, seed beads or any tiny pasta (like acini de pepe). There’s also some great ways to create a window to the drum, decorate the outside and seal the box so the contents don’t escape and you can use it for weeks to come.

Ocean Drum Tutorial Free

Want a step-by-step tutorial plus other great info on this drum and world music instruments? Until June 16th, we’ve reduced the price of this great kids music resource to – free!  (Note: If you read this post after June 16, 2017 and need a free educator’s copy, just contact daria at dariamusic at yahoo dot com for more info).

Links And Resources

ocean drum pdfFree Tutorial – MYO Ocean Drum – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ocean-Drum-Craft-1567951

World Oceans Day – Main Sitehttp://www.worldoceansday.org/

Find An Oceans Day Event Near You – http://www.worldoceansday.org/events_list

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Kaleidoscope Rattles

kaleidoscope rattle and shayHave you ever looked through a kaleidoscope to see an ever-changing array of beautiful colors?

Here’s a fun little rattle that creates a lovely flow of colors when it’s played. And it’s nice and quiet so it’s perfect for music-making with a large group of children or for kids who have noise sensitivity. It’s also one of our favorite projects for creating with kids on the autistic spectrum as it’s fun to make, easy to control and the sound is soothing and not harsh or abrupt.

Here’s what you need to make your own kaleidoscope rattles.

Supplies

Clear Recycled Plastic Bottles (like from water or juice) with a lid
Q-tips
Washable markers
Electric tape (for sealing the rattles)

What To Do

Clean and dry the plastic bottles thoroughly. You can do this easily by rinsing them out and placing them upside down in a regular glass or a jar.

Kaleidoscope Q tipsNext take the washable markers and color the tips of the Q-tips any color that you like.  Color as many as you like and drop them into the bottle.

Every so often, shake the bottle to see if you like the sound. The tone of the rattle will change each time you add another Q-tip to the container!

When you’re satisfied with the array of color and the sound of the rattle, put the lid on and seal it up with electrical tape to keep the contents inside.

Time To Play!

kaleidoscope tableShaking the rattle around in a circular motion displays a wonderful changing series of colors.  But since this is a rattle, you can play it any way you like. Shake it up and down, side to side or get up and dance with it!

Shake it along with a favorite song that you love to sing. Or play along to recorded music. Make several and compare the sounds as well as the colors as you enjoy your handiwork.

Have fun and keep making music!

Make An Earth Day Nature Walk Rattle!

Earth Day Rattle Finished

Take a nature walk and make a musical instrument! Here’s an easy and fun way to recycle a plastic container and spend some quality time outside all at the same time!

Supplies

Clean plastic container (wide-mouthed plastic bottles work best)!

Small amount of sand (or salt or sugar)

Tape (to seal the rattle)

Find A Great Green Space

Can you connect with nature in your front or backyard? If so, head on out and enjoy. If not, there are always parks, play areas, nature sanctuaries and arboretums within a short distance from most homes. And even if you think you know your area, a quick internet search will probably turn up some new places to discover where you can have a picnic or snack, do a nature craft or simply enjoy the great outdoors!

Collect Your Treasures

Bring a small bucket or container to collect your treasures. As you walk, keep an eye out for interesting items such as acorns, nuts, leaves, seeds, seedpods or pinecones. You might come across a feather or small shells if walking by a lake or stream. You may find beautifully shaped rocks or pebbles or smooth sticks that you’d like to collect.

Earth Day Rattle ContentsIf you’re walking at a local park, there are often naturalists who can help you identify what you’ve found or tell you more about what you’ve just collected or discovered.

Make Your Rattle

Start each rattle by pouring in a small amount of sand (or salt or sugar). Then, carefully add each item you’ve chosen to the container. Although you can do this craft without the sand, it will add a soft whooshing sound and then each treasure you add to the bottle will appear and disappear into the sand as you shake the container.

Seal It Up!

Once you are finished, seal up your rattle with a sturdy tape, such as colorful duct tape or electrical tape. It adds a nice design element and keeps small hands from opening the lid and creating a safety hazard.

Play Along To Some Some Earth Day Music!

What does your rattle sound like? Is it soft or loud? Did a friend, sibling or parent make a rattle, too?  Do their rattles look and sound, alike or different?

You can explore all kinds of listening skills with these quiet rattles and they are perfect for paying along with your favorite music. If you’d like some green musical inspiration, play along to the Earth Day anthem on the video below or click the link below for a free download of “We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands”.

Links and Resources

Free song download - “We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Handshttp://www.dariamusic.com/earthday.php

14 World Music Instruments That Can Be Made From Recycled Materials https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/14-world-music-instruments-that-can-be-made-from-recycled-materials/

7 Days of Learning Mandarin (Chinese) – Through Music!

Miss PandaMusic can be a great way to learn a new language.  While clapping along or tapping your toes, you’re also hearing new sounds and words that slowly become familiar phrases. Ni Hao (Mandarin Chinese) becomes a natural way to say “hello”.  And it makes perfect sense that 5 peeping “pollitos” (Spanish) are little chicks. And a counting song in any language makes learning the numbers a snap!

Last week we asked one of our favorite bilingual teaching moms to share her favorite picks for teaching Mandarin Chinese to children.  Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett; known to her students as Miss Panda (http://www.MissPandaChinese.com/), helps children everywhere learn Mandarin Chinese through kids songs and stories that are perfect for little ones of any age and adults as well.  Miss Panda not only has a passion for languages and is raising her children with English and Mandarin (plus a bit of French and Japanese) but she also feels that sharing languages enables toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners and homeschooled children to become young global citizens who can actively explore and participate in their world!
Here are Miss Panda’s excellent picks for learning Mandarin through music:

The “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” Song in Mandarin Chinese

Hello and Numbers Song in Mandarin Chinese

http://multikidsmusicvids.com/?p=1050

The London Bridge Song in Mandarin Chinese

http://multikidsmusicvids.com/?p=1058

Sing “The Eensy Weensy Spider” in Mandarin Chinese

http://multikidsmusicvids.com/?p=1063

“The Happy Birthday Song” in Mandarin Chinese

http://multikidsmusicvids.com/?p=1068

Two Tigers – A Classic Chinese Song For Children

http://multikidsmusicvids.com/?p=1073

Visit The Taipei Li-Yuan Peking Opera

http://multikidsmusicvids.com/?p=1080

We hope you enjoy what you hear as you listen, laugh and learn through these simple songs.

How Loud is Too Loud – Part II

Adorable girl hearingHave you ever noticed that we live in a very noisy world?

We’ve just published a short but very important post talking about noise levels and children (http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/how-loud-is-too-loud-part-1/).  But many parents also wonder about related issues that are also worth considering.  Here are some common sense answers that might help when thinking about sound, music and other types of entertainment or media in relation to young children.

Talk to Me, Mommy!

Don’t forget that the human brain learned how to develop in a world that consisted mainly of other humans speaking, singing or talking.  The added stimulation from t.v., radio and electronic devices are fairly new and although they can provide helpful and educational content, most studies show that the input from human contact makes the most difference to a child.  Whenever possible, experts suggest that parents emphasize “one-on-one time” speaking or interacting with a baby or young child and downplay external media, no matter how educational it might seem.

Silence is Golden

Similarly, having some time for quiet, quiet activities, family conversation or turning off electronic media can help everyone in the family feel more relaxed and calm.  Believe it or not, even when there’s no media playing, a child’s brain is still performing the important function of listening and cataloguing sounds such as a bird singing, a phone ringing, siblings chatting or a car passing by.

Turning down the noise level can often help a child process the world around them in a way that is meaningful and integrated.   In case after case, studies show that in regard to external noise and electronic media – less is often more.

When In Doubt, Turn It Down

And since we’ve all gotten used to a louder world, it helps to give some thought to things like stereo speakers in cars or where a baby is seated in a room.  If a car seat is buckled in a location with the car’s speaker is nearby, what may seem like a reasonable volume to the driver, might easily be too loud for the child whose ears are closer to the source of the sound.

In the same way, what might seem like a normal t.v. or radio volume to a parent cooking dinner across a room, might be too loud for a child seated next to the sound source.

When in Doubt – Check It Out

It makes perfect sense that a child might cry when hearing noises that are too loud for them.  But what if they continue to express discomfort with sound or sound levels when things seem to be at a reasonable volume?  In this case, visit your pediatrician.  Although most children receive a hearing screening before leaving a hospital or birth center, regular check-ups can detect problems and solve them in a timely manner.

Nemours, a non-profit education medical website has these comments about treatment regular check-ups and hearing loss:

“Treatment for hearing loss can be the most effective if it’s started by the time a child is 6 months old.  Kids who seem to have normal hearing should continue to have their hearing evaluated at regular doctors’ appointments. Hearing tests are usually done at ages 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18, and any other time if there’s a concern.”

Speak Up, Turn It Down!

Recently I attended a party that was a benefit for pediatric brain cancer.  Sadly; as entertainment, the hosts had hired a dj who insisted on playing music so loud it could cause hearing loss in small children, many of which were playing near the speakers.

If you’re having a party or visiting one where the noise level is questionable or too high, speak up!  DJ’s are often situated behind their speakers and may not recognize the noise level for guests in the room.  And, if it’s still a concern, let the musicians, dj or party host know how you feel.  Damaging noise levels can create problems for children, some of which won’t appear immediately but can have permanent and devastating results.

Again, you can check out the facts in our latest post about children, ear protection and hearing loss as well as at the Nemours KidsHealth Website at the links below.

Resources

How Loud is Too Loud –Part 1 http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/how-loud-is-too-loud-part-1/

Hearing Evaluation Information For Children From The Nemours KidsHealth Website:
http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/eyes/hear.html

How Loud Is Too Loud? Part 1

Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 12.51.40 PMThis guest post by Rob Doole tackles the important topic of hearing loss and young children.  Rob is the director of Allearplugs.com.

Music can be very beneficial to young children, allowing them to develop their sense of creativity and melody while generating memories that will stay with them forever. I always remember the songs I sang at school and appreciate how they developed my love of music that remains today.

However, musical memories are not always fond; young children exposed to high noise levels can develop hearing problems such as tinnitus during their youth.  Children’s hearing is highly sensitive and vulnerable to harm from loud noises and damage to their ear drums at an early age will inhibit their development later on in life.  It’s therefore important that you take some steps to protect and educate your children about the dangers of loud noise from music.

As illustrated below, the risks of your child developing hearing loss depends on the volume of noise and the exposure time:

Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 12.39.43 PM

Sound is measured in decibels (dB), with 85db being the threshold for safe or dangerous noise; to put this in context, playing a piano is around 70dB, and within the safe limits; listening to a live violin performance, at 92dB, would be above the threshold.

Exceeding the threshold for ‘dangerous’ noise is possible, provided the time frame of exposure is within safe limits, as outlined below from dangerousdecibels.org.

permissable exposure tim

Long periods of loud noise can be just as damaging as quick, sudden bursts and it’s important that you take precautions to reduce the likelihood of both exposures from occurring over time.

Most of your child’s music lessons or home practice is likely remain within safe thresholds, particularly when lessons only last for up to an hour at a time. However, as your children get older and want to try new instruments, these thresholds are likely to be exceeded; for example, the violin (86dB), flute (103dB) or cello (110dB) are all loud.

Other musical activities, like an all-day family music festival, could also create risks, with noise reaching 110dB very close to the stage (safe for under two minutes); my advice here is to use hearing protection, Edz Kids Ear Defenders (http://www.allearplugs.com/children/kids-ear-defenders/)  work really well, while moving as far away from the speakers as possible and taking regular breaks.

With new technology highly focused towards high-volume, personal ‘in-ear’ devices like MP3 players, it’s also really important that you educate young children about their dangers as soon as possible.  On their loudest settings, MP3 players can reach sound ratings of up to 115dB, which can be seriously detrimental over a sustained period of time.

Make sure music is turned down below 85dB for longer periods, or limited to very short time time frames above this threshold. It is often the sustained, lower-level sound exposures which have the potential to cause ‘unseen’ damage in children, so be sure to monitor their exposure as their enjoyment of music grows.

Rob’s company, Allearplugs.com offers the Edz Kids Ear Defenders as well as a full range of options for children’s hearing protection, check them out at http://www.allearplugs.com/.

Read more from Rob Doole and get his latest updates at: https://plus.google.com/115842769732285976259/posts