Tag Archives: multicultural crafts

Celebrate Chinese (Lunar) New Year With A Year of The Sheep Gong!

sheep gong craft picBang a gong and everyone listens!

Gongs are amazing, loud, inspiring instruments, but where can you find one?  If you have some basic supplies, then you can craft one right in your own home or classroom.  And you can decorate your new gong with a Chinese zodiac symbol or some other creative theme.

Supplies

Large metal pan (like a recycled pie tin, pizza pan, or a turkey roasting pan)
Pipecleaners or yarn
a smaller pie-tin gongStick, broomstick or long cardboard tube
Paint, stickers, glitter, glue or textured paint for decorating the gong
12 – 18” wooden dowel or wooden spoon (for the drum beater)
Colorful tape (for the drum beater)

Step By Step Directions

You can find step-by-step instructions as a pdf on DARIA’s world music for kids website or in her TeachersPayTeachers store.  Both are free, here:

http://www.dariamusic.com/docs/chinesegong.pdf

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

horse gong imageWhat Year Is It?

In February 2015, we’ve entered into the year of the sheep or the goat.   You can see an image of a ram on the pie tin gong at the top of this post!  But, there are 12 Chinese Zodiac signs so you may also want to use any of the other animals as part of your design.  You might also want to find out what year you were born in.

Take a look at the chart below and you can find out if you are a pig, an ox, a monkey or a rat!

Chinese ZodiacLinks and Resources

Bolang Gu on redMake Your Own Bolang Gu  (Monkey Drum)
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/chinese-mandarin/make-your-own-bolang-gu-chinese-pellet-drum

Kids Music Videos of Chinese New Year Drums and Celebrations
http://multikidsmusicvids.com/?cat=97

Two Popular Chinese New Years Songs
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/chinese-mandarin/two-wonderful-songs-to-celebrate-chinese-new-year

“Gong Xi! Gong Xi!” – The Excitement of Chinese New Year
http://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/gong-xi-gong-xi-the-excitement-of-chinese-new-year/

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Musical Water Play – A MYO Gourd-Style Water Drum

ghana water drumHow often can you imagine someone saying: “Now it’s time to pour water into our drum”.   Although it might seem unusual, at least two cultures from around the globe have discovered that you can make an amazing  drum by overturning a gourd and playing it while it rests gently upon the surface of the water.   In fact, the sound is so deep and resonant that there are claims it can be heard for miles!

Playing water gourd drumDon’t have dried gourds from Ghana or a time machine to travel back to Mayan days and play a bubulek water drum?  No worries. In fact, here’s a simple version of this instrument that also works wonderfully as outdoor water play for kids.  It’s a good way to combine messy or wet play with creativity and music!

Gather A Few Supplies

First you’ll need a shallow container to hold the water. We’ve used a plastic “under-the-bed” storage container box, but a kiddie pool or similar container will also work perfectly.  It helps to have a jug for water so you can vary the amount of water used beneath your “drum”.  Then you need the floating “gourds”.  Circular materials plastic water drumitems (like sturdy round mixing bowls) work best but explore whatever you have that will stay afloat when placed up-side-down in the water. You might be surprised at what sounds each different item will create when tapped or touched.

Lastly, you might want to have a few beaters such as unsharpened pencils, chopsticks or wooden spoons. Then it’s just a matter of pouring and playing away.

Play Gently

With this drum, like many others, less is more.  If you like, start by tapping your “gourd” with the tips of your fingers and see what sounds are created.  Try quietly rapping the plastic water drum playingtop and the sides.  Add a pencil or a beater and see if the sound changes.  Add a different container and play two or three together for different sounds or sound combinations.

Getting Serious?

If you take a look at the video below you can see the musician is doing a few different things. He’s knocking on the top of the gourd (like you might knock at a door), tapping and rapping and creating some really neat patterns. He’s playing an actual “jicara de agua” water drum from Mexico, but the same techniques work perfectly on any homemade drum.

You can use this video for inspiration or create your very own unique way to play.

What will your water play sound like today?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rock Out! 10 Great Recycled Instruments to Make With Your Child!

josef and cajon

Turn a broomstick into Australian bilma for some really versatile rhythm sticks. Or a cardboard box into a Peruvian cajón – perfect to learn hand-drumming!  You’d be surprised how many wonderfully unique world music instruments can Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rock Out - Coverbe made from recycled or repurposed materials.  And sound good.  And inspire musical play in your home or classroom.

Best of all, many of these instruments mean thinking about things in a new way.  Working with these simple crafts, kids can see how many important items originally came from nature – such as Native American turtle shell rattles, rainsticks from chola cactus branches and bamboo reeds were fashioned into panpipes.  Or how things take on a special significance when they are made by hand or made with love and personal attention.  And how some of the most amazing instruments are the quietest – like a simple sistrum that dates back to ancient Egypt.  Or a drum that can do an zamponas front and backamazing impression of the sounds of surf.

While crafting with your kids, you can explore a variety of beautiful world cultures and use it as a way of connecting with your class, your family or your community.

Here’s a list of the recycled instruments found in the E-book.

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 5.26.10 PMACTIVITY ONE

Australian blima clapsticks from broomsticks or tree branches

ACTIVITY TWO

Peruvian style cajón drum from a cardboard box of any size

horse gong imageACTIVITY THREE

Chinese-style gong from a recycled roasting pan or cookie sheet

ACTIVITY FOUR:

A South American “quijada” jawbone instrument made from egg cartons

ACTIVITY FIVE

An ocean drum made from a pizza box and recycled plastic folders

ACTIVITY SIX

A rainstick made from a used mailing tube

ACTIVITY SEVEN

An Egyptian sistrum from a forked tree branch or a coat hanger

tingsha on white 1ACTIVITY EIGHT

Tinghsa handbells made from repurposed “Snapple” tops

ACTIVITY NINE

Native American turtle shell rattle from take-out containers

josef playing straw zamponasACTIVITY TEN

Panpipes from clean, recycled drinking straws

So download the book, dig into the recycling bin and make a joyful noise today!

Free Download!

If you’re reading this post during April 2014, you can get a free download of this awesomely green musical craft book here: http://www.dariamusic.com/monthly_song.php

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rock Out! is also available from TeachersPayTeachers here:

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Rock-Out-E-Book-With-10-Musical-Activities-653502

 

Make Your Own Bodhrán Irish Drum

Screen shot 2014-03-07 at 10.50.39 AMEvery culture has it’s own favorite types of drums.

In the Celtic tradition of Ireland, the bodhrán (pronounced “bow-ron”) is a drum that seems to have evolved from the tambourine.  Originally made from farm implements such as a sieve to separate grain, it’s generally 10 – 26” inches across and is played with a small wooden stick called a “tipper” (or cipín, in the Celtic language).

Whether you attempt to create a realistic bodhrán and tipper or just want to create an Irish-style drum, this easy craft makes a great introduction to Irish folk music.

bodhran drum suppliesGather Your Supplies

To create your homemade bodhrán, find a used pie tin or recycled take-out containers.  Circular metal containers  press-on tops work perfectly for this craft.  In addition, you’ll need materials for decorating the drum and a pencil or two plastic homemade bodhran (tin)spoons to serve as your tipper plus a bit of tape.

It you’re using a pie tin, you can decorate the sides or the top and you’re ready to play.  If you’re using take-out containers, decorate the blank side of the top circle with any kind of theme you like.  Since we’re writing this close to St. Patrick’s Day, we’ve chosen to decorate with shamrocks.

Make A Plastic Spoon Tipper

tippers yellowTo make a “tipper” for your drum, tape together two recycled plastic spoons.  If you don’t have any spoons handy, you can use an unsharpened pencil or a similar item like a chopstick or small thin piece of wood.

Time To Play!

Everyone loves to play on a drum.  If you have a simple stick as the beater, tap out a rhythm along with any of your favorite songs or discover some new Irish music to accompany.

If you’ve made a tipper, hold it in your hand between your thumb and first finger.

Tap on the drum with one side of it.  Then tap in the other side.  Practice tapping right, left, right, left until you get the hang of it.

Once you’ve mastered the back and forth tapping of the tipper, try picking up speed. You’ll be amazed at what some musicians can do with this drum after they’ve practiced a bit.

Below is a short video showing basic bodhran technique for kids as well as a Youtube video of a master musician who can really rock out on this awesome Irish instrument.

Homemade Bodhrán Musical Fun

Homemade Bodhran Fun- Click Here To Learn The Basic Techniques

Traditional Celtic Bodhrán – One Amazing Instrumentalist!

Links and Resources

Make Your Own Bodhran -  tutorial from TPT https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Irish-Drum-Make-and-Play-Your-Own-Bodhran-and-Tipper-2410657

 

Make Your Own Woven Caxixi Rattle

caxixis 4 lying downMaking and playing simple instruments from around the world can be a great way to spend time with your young child.  It offers a chance to get creative, explore art, celebrate diversity and make music all at the same time.  Here’s a perfect example of a fun instrument that you can make to explore world cultures and add to your music basket – a woven caxixi rattle.

Caxixi (pronounced ka-shee-shee) rattles are beautifully woven, small, hand percussion instruments that can be found in Africa as well as in South America.  The rattle has a flat bottom piece that can be made from a gourd or from plastic or metal.  The rest of the rattle is the woven “basket” that holds the small items that create the sound.  The basket part can be woven with beautiful patterns of colored fiber and some caxixi’s consist of two baskets attached to one handle.  Although this instrument may look quite simple, the caxixi can make a wide variety of sounds.  You can shake the contents against the softer side of the woven rattle for one sound or against the harder bottom part for another tone.

How are caxixi rattles played in traditional cultures?  In West Africa, they are often played by the singers who are accompanied by drummers.  In this setting, the rattle is believed to bring call good spirits and drive away bad ones. In Brazil, the caxixi is often seen creating the percussion sound for a really unique instrument called a birembau.

2 recycled caxixi rattlesMake Your Woven Rattle

Here’s a list of supplies that you can use for this simple and fun project:

Supplies:

Small milk carton or plastic container

Construction paper

Pipe cleaners or yarn

scotch tape

Any small material for filling the rattle such as bird seed, tiny pasta, pebbles, dried beans or beads

Directions:

Clean and dry a used milk carton or a round plastic bottle.

Cut a rectangle of recycled paper to fit over the main area of the container  – the square part of the milk carton or the lower part of the plastic bottle.

Cut “weaving strips” that are exactly as long as the wide side of the rectangle.  Make them as wide as you like.  Larger strips are easier for smaller hands to weave.

Cut the main rectangle vertically, leaving the space of about one weaving strip in the bottom.

weaving a caxixi rattleWeave the rectangle with any color combination you like and then fit it onto your container and tape it into place.

Next, braid or twist several pipecleaners together to form the handle.

Before you assemble the final rattle, add the materials that will create the sound.  Add any small fillings to the rattle and see if you like what you hear.  Smaller, lighter items make softer sounds.  Larger, harder objects like dried beans and buttons make a louder and harsher sound.  When you find the perfect mix, put on the lid.

homemade caxixi rattleFor the milk carton caxixi – poke two small holes in the carton on the top and thread pipeclearners through them for a handle.

For the plastic bottle caxixi – seal the bottle with sturdy tape and wind extra tape around the handle to hold it in place.

Play along with your favorite music and have fun!

————————

For more multicultural musical fun, check out these related resources:

DARIA’s Musical Craft Activites and Coloring pages:

http://www.dariamusic.com/crafts.php

Musical cd’s by DARIA featuring songs in 8 different languages: 

http://www.dariamusic.com/CDs.php

Daria’s monthly song page with free songs, contests, give-aways and lots of resources for parents and teachers: 

http://www.dariamusic.com/monthly_song.php

Creciendo Con Música – A Spanish Language Kids Music Blog

http://creciendoconmusicblog.wordpress.com

 

 

Easy and Fun…Button Castanets!

Have you ever seen Spanish castanets?  Traditional ones are beautifully crafted or carved from wood and often painted with themes like the Spanish countryside or elegant dancers. Playing the castanets is a fun way of allowing a child to develop a sense of rhythm, fine motor skills and also a great way to explore the music and culture of Spain.

Many historians think that castanets – or castañuelas in Spanish – were originally made from the shells of walnuts or chestnuts. Since creating “walnut shell” castanets might be complicated and require tools such as drills, we wanted to share a simpler version of homemade castanets that can be made from sturdy paper, buttons and glue.

Start by cutting rectangles of the sturdy paper about 4 – 6 inches long and about ½ to 1 inch wide. Fold the paper in half so that it leaves a crease in the middle.

Next, choose a pair of buttons and glue one on each end. After the button castanet is dry, pick it up and play by clicking the buttons together. Make several pairs with different kinds of buttons and notice how the sound is unique with each one. (One safety note: If you are working with small children or have younger children nearby, be cautious about the buttons as potential choking hazards if swallowed.)

Playing Button Castanets

This craft is so easy that even an adult can do it! Feel free to learn and play along with your child. Simply put the button castanets between your thumb and first finger and click away. Play fast, slow, or tap back and forth between the left hand and right hand. Click or clack along to a favorite song or rhyme or put on a recording of music that you love. See if you can match the beat you hear or create a new one that works with the song.

Intrigued by castanets and what you can do with them? Here’s an article that tells you more about their background and shares one woman’s amazing talent in playing this type of hand percussion.

What Are Castanets or Castañuelas

http://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/what-are-castanets-or-castanuelas/

Supplies For This Project:

A small amount of sturdy paper (such as a recycled manila folder or poster board)

Pairs of buttons

Glue or glue gun

An Easy Musical Craft For Young Children – Back To School Maracas!

maracas-back-to-schoolDo you have a young child going to school for the first time?  Or maybe a little one staying home while an older sibling returns to their Fall schedule?  Here’s a fun craft that gives you some time together with your child while preparing for a new routine at home.  And you get to make use of recyclables from around the house as well as extra supplies – like paper clips or colorful erasers – left over from back-to-school preparation.

Start with two clean 8 oz (smaller) water bottles.  If you don’t use plastic water bottles – ask around.  You may have friends or neighbors who can collect a few for you!  Fill each one with small items such as the colorful paper clips and erasers seen above.  Each one will sound a bit different when they are shaken because you’ve chosen two different fillings.  If you don’t have these items on hand, you can use dried beans, rice, pebbles, buttons, beads, sand, salt or small pasta.  Feel free to get creative with what you add!

homemade-maracas-adding-tapeOnce you’ve chosen your fillings, put the cap on each water bottle.  To create the handle, take two toilet paper rolls and make a straight cut down each one with scissors.  Twist the roll until it fits onto the cap side of the water bottle and begin wrapping it with electrical tape.  Start by wrapping the bottle to the paper handle with the tape and proceed down the handle.  This creates a sturdy way to hold onto your maracas as they are being played.  Then you’re ready to shake, rattle and roll!

Maracas are one of the simplest instruments to play for young children or the beginning musician.  Put one in each hand and rock out!  You can let your kids experiment with shaking them in different ways or encourage them to move and dance while playing them.  You can make a pair for yourself and create rhythms together.  Since each maraca (and each hand) will sound slightly different, create rhythm patterns by shaking the different hands or calling out patterns by what’s inside each instrument.  You can play patterns such as:  “right hand, left hand, right hand, left hand” or get creative with something like:  “Rice, beans, rice, rice, beans” or “buttons, buttons, beads, buttons, beads!”.  There are no wrong ways to create these patterns.  Play with your new maracas and see what sounds best to you.  Or put on a favorite cd and find patterns that fit with the music you enjoy.

Supplies

Two small plastic water bottles ( 8 oz.)

Two toilet paper rolls

Electrical tape

Two different maraca fillings such as paper clips, beads, seeds, erasers, rice, beans or pebbles.

Want to play your new maracas along with a  song from Latin America?  Check out DARIA’s bilingual version of La Cucaracha – a silly folksong from Mexico about a cockroach.  In this version, the cockroach plays a guiro and maracas!