Tag Archives: cajon

What Is Your Country’s National Instrument?

charango full color imageYou probably know that different countries have different languages. And diverse cultures have different holidays and foods. But did you know that almost all countries in the world have a national instrument?

What’s A National Instrument?

What is a national instrument?  It can be an instrument discovered or played in a country, like the South African vuvuzela horn.  It can also be a musical instrument that holds cultural and symbolic importance for a state, a nation or a particular race or ethnicity of people.  Some are drums, some are stringed instruments, some are percussion instruments but all hold a special significance to the citizens of that country and represents the unique character of the people it is identified with.

sistrum-posterFor instance, think about a balalaika from Russia or the ukulele from Hawaii. Can a country have more then one national instrument?  Yes, several countries have multiple instruments listed as their national instruments.  For instance, Greece has an ancient national instrument – the lyre, and also a modern one, the bouzouki. Peru has both the Afro-Peruvian cajón (box drum) and the Andean charango, a stringed instrument made from the shell of an armadillo.

Discovering Cultures Through Music

Instruments are a really fun starting point for discovering and learning about world cultures. Perhaps you have relatives or ancestors from another culture. Music is a great starting point for sharing that culture with your kids. Perhaps didgeridooyou’ll travel to another country, here’s a fun way to find out more about what you’ll see and hear in advance. Likewise, if you’re simply exploring the world from the comfort of your couch, finding out about national instruments is a great way to discover the many wonders of the musical world.

Below is a link to the Wikipedia compilation page of national instruments. This is a great source because each countries entry has a clickable link to learn more. Also below are links to free coloring pages and to one kids E-book where you can color your way around the world with unique musical instruments like the sitar from India or goat toe-nail rattles from Bolivia.

What’s your country’s national instrument?  Did you already know it? I’d love to hear from you about this!

Links and Resources

Wikipedia’s List of National Instruments  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_instruments_%28music%29

Australia – What Is A Didgeridoo https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-is-a-Didgeridoo-2816257

Ancient Egypt – Color A Sistrumhttps://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-An-Ancient-Egyptian-Rattle-The-Sistrum-2166721

young boy and vuvuzelaSouth Africa
 – Make Your Own Vuvuzela Stadium Horn 

 -Balalaika –Poster and Coloring Page

 – Ukulele Poster and Coloring Page 

Peru – Make Your Own Cajón - https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Cajon-Make-And-Play-Your-Own-Box-Drum-1236616

Peru – Charango – Poster and Coloring Page 

Argentina and Brazil – Guitar Coloring Page https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Guitar-Coloring-Page-649967

Let’s Color A World Of Music – 12 Instrument E-Book https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/LETS-COLOR-A-WORLD-OF-MUSIC-1253263


Color The Instruments from Hispanic Heritage!

Screen shot 2014-09-27 at 12.22.10 PMWho doesn’t love to color?

And did you know that the guitar traces it’s roots to Spain? And in South American, there’s an instrument made from the actual shell of an armadillo? Coloring pages can be a great way to get creative as well as dive into any study or exploration of music. Since September 15 – October 15th is Hispanic Heritage month, we wanted to share a few of our reader’s favorite coloring freebies featuring instruments that come from the diversity of Hispanic cultures.

And if coloring isn’t enough, check out the free E-book listed below where you can make crafty versions of 10 different instruments that also come from the Hispanic world. Castanets, cajitas or box drums, anyone?


Color A Guitar – ONLINE  http://www.dariamusic.com/color_Guitar.php

Free Printable From TeachersPayTeachers http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Guitar-Coloring-Page-649967

Screen shot 2014-09-27 at 4.30.37 PMCharango (Small Stringed Instrument Made From An Armadillo Shell) 

Free Printable From DARIA’s website


Cajón (A Box Drum From Afro-Peruvian Culture)

Color A Cajon – ONLINE


Chapchas (A Rattle Made From Goat’s Toenails) 

Free Printable From TeachersPayTeachers  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-The-Chapchas-An-Instrument-from-The-Andes-650050

Bombo ( A Large South American Drum) 

Screen shot 2014-09-27 at 12.22.27 PMFree Printable From TeachersPayTeachers http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-A-Bombo-A-Drum-From-The-Andes-650642


Color A Guiro – ONLINE http://www.dariamusic.com/color_Guiro.php

Zampoñas (Panpipes From The Andes) 

Free Printable From TeachersPayTeachers http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-the-Zamponas-Panpipes-From-The-Andes-65060

HHM-coverResources And Links

10 Musical Crafts To Celebrate Hispanic Heritage -Free Until October 31st on DARIA’s website:


Available Anytime From TeachersPayTeachers ($8.99)


Additional Coloring Pages With Musical Instruments From All Over the World http://www.dariamusic.com/crafts.php



Color The Musical Instruments – All The Way Around The World!

Coloring Book CoverWho doesn’t love to color? No matter how young or old you area, it’s fun to get out a set of crayons or colored pencils and personalize a perfect page!   And if you can also learn about other cultures in the process, all the better!

We’ve just released this e-book that’s actually a compilation of readers’ favorite musical instrument pages from the WORLD MUSIC WITH DARIA  website. Called “Let’s Color … A World Of Music!” there are 12 pages including common favorites like the guitar as well as more unique instruments such as the balalaika from Russia, the sitar from India or the panpipes (zampoñas) from South America.

erhu coloring pageIn addition to coloring fun, you can also use this book as a creative way to learn about other cultures. For instance, if you listen to any classical or traditional music from China, you’ll probably hear an erhu. In “Let’s Color … A World Of Music!” you can not only see what it looks like but find out what it is made of and how it is played as well.

Exploring the culture of India?  You can learn about a sitar or a two-headed drum from Northern India called a dhol. If you’re taking a virtual trip to the Andes, you can find a miniature guitar made from shell of an armadillo or a special rattle (called chapchas) made from the toenails of sheep or goats.

Best of all, during June and July 2014, you can get your copy free at the link below. And in the meantime, here’s a list of the 12 instruments you can discover and enjoy:

sitar coloring pageBalalaika







Erhu, Guitar, Sitar, Ukulele and Zampoñas.

“Let’s Color … A World Of Music!” From TeachersPayTeachers


This post was originally published in 2014 with a “free E-book offer.  If you’re a teacher or parent on a limited budget and want a free Educator’s copy, please e-mail dariamusic at yahoo dot com.





Playing And Learning With Easy Instruments from Hispanic Culture

Hispanic 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 as well as develop coordination and motor skills.  And you can add your own creative or artistic flair to any of the instruments you create.

Here are some easy musical crafts from Latin American and Hispanic culture and creative ideas for playing them.

castanets (wooden)Click, Click, Castanets!

Have 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!

Here are some castanet 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.

Find the Button Castanet Tutorial here:


Be A Guiro Hero!

A guiro is any instrument that has a series of ridges and is scraped to produce the sound.  In different cultures you can find guiros made from dried gourds, wood, plastic or even bones!  It’s easy to make a recycled version of a guiro out of a water bottle with ridges and a found item as a scraper.

Make guiros from different types of plastic bottles.  Notice the different sounds each makes. Once you’ve created your own guiro, try any of the musical activities below:

Try using different scrapers on your guiro.  These might include plastic spoons, forks or sporks, unsharpened pencils, a comb or an egg whisk.  How does the sound change?  Which ones do you like best?

Play along to music from Latin America.  Can you find patterns that fit the music?

Play along with your favorite music.  Can you find patterns that fit in with this type of music?

Try playing a rhythm where you only scrape down.  Or only scrape up.

Try playing a rhythm where you scrape down and then scrape up.  Try it slowly and then increase the speed or tempo.

homemade guiro and 6 raspsMix up patterns of scraping down and up.  For instance, try –

Scrape down, scrape down scrape up!

Or develop more complicated patterns such as –

Down Up, Down, Down, Up!

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

Try the call and response game with eyes closed.

Let the child lead a call and response game.

Hear or Color a Guiro


Instruction to Make Your Own Guiro:


Three Pairs of MaracasMake Some Maracas

Maracas can be found in Spain as well as in various countries of Latin America and the Caribbean nations.  They can be made of wood, gourds, coconuts or fabricated from plastic.

A wonderful instrument for kids because they easily fit into each hand, here are simple instructions for making your own pair and playing with them when you’re done!

Try making several pairs that are filled with different items such as beans and rice, birdseed and pebbles or sand and tiny beads.  Each set of maracas will have a distinct sound.

Professional maracas generally have a different sound in the left and right maraca to produce more intricate rhythms.  You can create this type of maracas, if you like.

Make a pair for parent or teacher and child and try shaking very quietly along with a quiet song.

Try shaking more loudly to a more active and upbeat song.

Instead of shaking your maracas up and down or back and forth, try “whooshing” the contents around in a circular motion.  How does that change the sound?

Try making a “crescendo” sound with your maracas.  Start quietly and then shake louder until you stop!

Try matching the patterns you hear in a Latin American song.

Try matching the patterns you hear in any of your favorite songs.

Make Your Own Maracas


More Resources

Hear a Cajón Box Drum here:


Color A Cajón Box Drum here:


Visit DARIA’s TeachersPayTeachers store.  Multicultural music, reasonable priced materials and many freebies here as well:


Coloring Pages and Other World Music “Make-Your-Own” Musical Activities Here: