You 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.
For 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 you’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 Sistrum – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-An-Ancient-Egyptian-Rattle-The-Sistrum-2166721
– 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