Tag Archives: unusual percussion

Make a Water Drum In Your Own Backyard

Does this look like fun?

This musical water play is based on an actual instrument called a gourd water water gourd drumdrum. Found both in Africa and in the ancient Mayan culture of Mexico, this drum has a completely unique and amazing sound that is deep and resonant and can be heard for long distances. Here’s a picture of an actual gourd water drum.

Originally made from a bushel gourd as the bowl and smaller gourd pieces as the stand and the floating resonator, we’ve come up with a fun way to try this at home that ghana gourd drummakes for great play, especially when the weather is hot!

First, take any kiddie pool and fill it with about 1-2 inches of water. Next add round items gently into the surface of the water. Last, tap them with homemade beaters like an unsharpened pencil, wooden spoon or make your own beater by wrapping electric tape around one end of a stick or a wooden dowels.

Tips For Drummers

Tap gently, and listen for the sound. Each floating drum head will sound different try. Which sound do you like?

If the floating drum head has sunk into the water, you’ll lose the quality of sound.  Lift it up and set it back on the surface if the water to continue playing.

kiddy pool water drum (Tacony)Put on your favorite summer songs and tap along with the music.

If you enjoy this unusual drum and want to play more -  look for other potential floating drum head at places like yard sales, garage sales and thrift stores. It’s a great way to continue this fun and exciting sound and sensory activity.

Can You Step Into The Pool While Drumming?

Sure! They did it in the video and play session pictured above. Go ahead, as long as it’s okay with mom, dad or whoever else is watching.

Links and Resources

MYO Drum Beater – http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/make-a-little-drum-beater-for-a-big-drum/

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Make A Drum That Sounds Like The Ocean!

traditional ocean drumHave you ever heard an ocean drum?  It’s an amazing instrument that sounds almost exactly like the soothing sounds of the surf?  And – guess what?  It’s  a quiet instrument!  It’s great for music and meditation as well as a quiet time activity.  And it’s also perfect project to make and play for for any child or adult on the autistic spectrum.

And, you can make it from all recycled materials!

What Is An Ocean Drum?

It looks like a frame drum from the Middle East, but it is filled with small round objects that, when tilted back and forth, sound remarkably like the waves at the seashore.  It’s sound is soothing and when ocean drums are filled with colorful or interesting objects, they are as beautiful to watch as they are to hear.

apple pie ocean drum suppliesHere are the supplies you need to make one ocean drum:

  • A sturdy box: Flat shipping boxes, or any sturdy small box
  • Clear plastic: You can recycle old report covers, salad bar containers, clear tablecloth covers or purchase a small amount of clear vinyl at a fabric or hardware store. Hint: Don’t use plastic wrap as it simply won’t hold up to the task.
  • Strong tape: Packing tape, masking tape, or electrical tape are good choices.
  • Contents for the drum: Choose any small fillings such as seed beads, pastina pasta, acini de pepe pasta, orzo, pony beads, mung beans, lentils, dried beans, marbles, or small pebbles.

How To Make It

Start with a sturdy box.  It’s a good idea to decorate your box before experimenting with what you want to put inside.  If you started with a plain box from a stationery supply store, you have a clean slate to create an ocean motif or ocean drums makingdecorate with paint, crayons, markers or glitter and glue. If you have an overly busy box, like a pizza box, you may wish to cover it with colored paper (leaving space for the window, of course) and decorate from there.

Next, create the window so you can watch the smaller items move around inside the drum. To do this, get some sturdy clear plastic and cut it into a large square or rectangle.  Draw a slightly smaller square or rectangle on the inside of the top of your ocean drum box and cut it out. Secure the window in place inside the box using a strong tape such as packing tape, electrical tape, or masking tape.

Now choose something to create the sound of the surf. Small, round objects make a sound that is closest to a real ocean drum.  However, you can get creative with what you’d like to try. You can choose tiny pasta like acini de pepe, pastina pasta, seed beads, bee bees, or mung beans. You can fill your drum with lentils, dried peas, marbles, pony beads, larger beans, or orzo pasta for a louder drum. You can mix and match to see what sounds best to your ear.

You may also want to make it interesting by adding colorful beads or other items like marbles, buttons, glitter or confetti that will add to the visual appeal of the drum.

Once you’ve chosen what you want to go inside, you are ready to seal the drum. Cover it with packing tape so that the contents will stay inside.  Seal up all the edges where the smaller objects might come out and then you’re ready to play your ocean drum.

ocean drum sall of usPlaying The Ocean Drum

This is a fun instrument to explore.  Here are a few techniques you can use when playing it:

Tilt it back and forth at gentle angles

Tilt it back and forth at more extreme angles

Tilt the drum for a gentle swooshing sound then turn it on its side to stop the sound

Tap the sides or top with your fingertips  

Shake your instrument as if it were a rattle. 

Many people find the sound and the changing patterns very calming and meditative. You can relax and play it without any other accompaniment or you can play this instrument along with soothing music or any of your favorite songs.  Try to match the beat by tilting the ocean drum along with the rhythms of the song.

If you enjoy this type of drum, you may want to make several as each one will have a distinct sound or might fit better with different musical styles that you enjoy.

Feel free to experiment and make this unusual instrument all your own!

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

Make Your Own Egyptian Sistrum!

sistrum color image

We’re proud to be part of the Middle Eastern North Africa blog hop. Naturally our post is about music, but make sure you check out all the other related posts (listed below) to learn more about this beautiful and culturally rich part of the world.

Crafting is a great hands-on way for kids to learn about world cultures, so our post shows you how to make a sistrum, a unique rattle that was used in the courts of the Pharoahs of ancient Egypt.

What is a Sistrum?

You can see images of sistrums in hieroglyphics found in the pyramids. A bit of study of the courts of the Pharoahs reveals that the sistrum was played mainly by women or priestesses and that it was played by moving it back and forth from side to side so that the metal bangles create a unique sound and distinctive rhythms.  It was often part of ceremonial or the sacred/religious music of the time.

TTF SistrumMake Your Own Sistrum From a Tree Branch

If you take a walk in a wooded area, it’s easy to find a tree branch that is shaped like the letter “Y”. You can use the branch “as is” or cut and sand it down, if you like.

Next, you’ll need a bit of floral wire or craft wire. Wrap it around one side of the Y, then add whatever bangles you may have. Below we have a post showing how to safely make bangles from bottlecaps, which is a fun recycling project. Instead – or in addition to bangles – you can also use things like beads, making sistrums peace valleyjingle bells or bits of jewelry to add to the bling of your sistrum. Be as creative as you like!

Playing A Sistrum

Although the traditional way to play a sistrum is to move it back and forth only, it’s a rattle so feel free to use it as a percussion instrument any way you like.

Links and Resources

Free Egyptian Sistrum Coloring Page- https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Color-An-Ancient-Egyptian-Rattle-The-Sistrum-2166721

Make Your Own Bangles From Bottlecaps Post – http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/ecologynature/how-to-make-bottle-cap-bangles-for-recycled-musical-instruments/
Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Welcome to the third annual Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month series from Multicultural Kid Blogs! Follow along all month long for great resources on teaching children about the heritage of this region, and link up your own posts below. Don’t miss our series from last year and from 2015!

You can also find even more resources on our North Africa and the Middle East Pinterest board:

 


August 4 Sand In My Toes on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 10 Fun Facts About the United Arab Emirates
August 8 A Crafty Arab: Jordan Craft Stick Flag Tutorial
August 15 Sand In My Toes: Wind Tower Craft (UAE)
August 17 All Done Monkey: MENA Countries Worksheets
August 18 Tiny Tapping Toes
August 21 Biracial Bookworms on Multicultural Kid Blogs
August 23 Jeddah Mom
August 28 Crafty Moms Share
August 30 Creative World of Varya

 

Link Up Your Posts!


 

The Yaqui Gourd Water Drum From Ancient Mexico 

ghana gourd drumOne of my favorite instruments to bring around to schools is a water drum made from a gourd. Kids and adults are often shocked when I pour water into one of the gourds and float the other on top to create the drum.  Then they are amazing by the deep, resonant sound. But where did a unique and creative instrument like this come from?  Interestingly enough, gourd water drums are found in both African cultures and in the indigenous cultures that inhabit present day Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

yaqui water drumWe caught up with a talented musician from Los Angeles named Christopher Garcia who not only plays them, but has thoroughly researched their background and shares these traditional instruments with audiences around the world.

And, at the end of this post, you’ll find our DIY water drum craft. Although our plastic water drum doesn’t sound exactly like the real thing, it does produce great drum sounds and is a fun way to encourage sensory play with water and sound.

Christopher Garcia – Teaching About Indigenous Meso American Instruments

Before Spanish Conquistadors arrived in present day Mexico and the Southwestern US, indigenous cultures such as the Yaqui were flourishing with rich music and cultural lives. Many of these indigenous groups trace their history to the civilizations of the Mayan and Aztec peoples. Beautiful and unusual instruments used in their music include the water drum, singing stones, unique flutes and a marimba made of turtle shells. Christopher details many of these unique instruments at his website below, but here you can see him playing the gourd water drum and the gourd water drum plus the turtle shell marimba and singing stones.

Turtle Shells, Singing Stones And a Wooden Drum

Make Your Own Version Of A Gourd Water Drum

plastic water drum playingWe’ve done a whole post on taking various sized rounded plastic containers, floating them on the surface of the water and getting some of the same tones you’d hear on gourd water drums. You can get creative and try it yourself in a bucket, kiddie pool or basin of water, or check out that full post at the link below.

Links and Resources

Make A Gourd Water Drum from Plastic Containers
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/musical-water-play-a-myo-gourd-style-water-drum/

Christopher Garcia’s Indigenous Instruments of Mexico/Mesoamerica
http://indigenousinstrumentsof mexicomesoamerica.weebly.com/

Seed Pods Rattles From Peru, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Africa!

pacay shaker on lliqllaIf you lived in ancient times or tribal days – what would you use to make music? You’d probably look around you for sticks, stones, bones or even seed pods that fell from trees! These would make excellent percussion and if you’re lucky enough to live in a tropical region, there are several trees that actually grow very cool seed pod rattles such as the pacay shaker seen on the colorful Peruvian cloth above.  You can learn more about seed pod trees here or in the more detailed links below.

The Pacay “Ice Cream” Tree

Isn’t that a cool name for a tree? The tall and lovely pacay tree got this name because the soft white pulp between the seeds in the seed pods is delicious and a pacay fruit - ripefavorite among kids dating back to the Incan times in South America. In fact, the earliest story of this seed pod comes from when the Spanish invaded South America and the last Inca gave a basket of pacay seed pods to Pizzaro as a gift. Now grown as shade trees near coffee plantations in Peru, this giant 60 foot tree is also found throughout Central America and the beans (seeds) are eaten as well. In Mexico, the beans inside the seed pods are roasted and served on the streets as a snack!

The Flame or Flamboyant Tree

Although the seed pods to this tree appear similar to the pacay shakers, the trees flame treethey come from are really different. The flamboyant tree is native to Africa but found throughout tropical regions around the world.  In some locations, such as Puerto Rico, it’s a beloved and iconic image seem in everything from photos to folk art!

The tree itself is ornamental, smaller in size, has fern-like leaves and bright, beautiful red flowers so it’s easy to see how it got it’s name. Although the seeds here are not edible, the seed pods still make nice natural percussion instruments to use as shakers.

How Do You Make A Seed Pod Shaker?

That’s a trick question – you don’t! They work as rattles directly from the tree. Well, when dried, of course. If you’re in an area where these trees grow you’ll probably find seed pods that have fallen and are hard, dry and brown in color. At that point, pick them up and shake them and they are instant rattles!

Will each seed pod sound the same? Try several and see for yourselves!

Pacay Shaker in Josef's HandHow Do You Play One?

Although this is a really basic and simple instrument, there are several ways to get different sounds from a seed pod rattle. Try any of these:

  • Rattle it back and forth or up and down.
  • Rattle it slowly then build up a crescendo.
  • Hold it in one hand and tap it against the other.
  • March or dance while shaking it, letting the beat become part of your movement or music!

Links and Resources

Lost Crops of the Incas: Little-Known Plants of the Andes with Promise for Worldwide Cultivation https://www.nap.edu/read/1398/chapter/33#284

The Flame or Flambouyant Tree – https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delonix_regia

The Flamboyant Tree: A Puerto Rico Icon: http://caribbeantrading.com/the-flamboyant-tree-a-puerto-rico-icon/

Pacay: A Tree, a Fruit, a Bean, and a Musical Instrument – http://kidworldcitizen.org/2013/10/21/pacay-tree-fruit-bean-musical-instrument/

Playing The Spoons As an Instrument – In Russia!

Russian wooden spoonsAnyone who has experienced “down home” American folk music has probably heard a musician play the spoons. If you haven’t – then you’re in for a treat and check out the post below titled: “It’s So Easy to Play The Spoons!”

But, did you know that playing spoons as percussion is a part of traditional Russian folk music as well? Although the sound of the clicking and clacking of the spoons is similar, the Russian technique of playing adds a few really neat twists that put it in a league of it’s own!

Russian Spoons or Lozhki

Known as lozhki (Ло́жки), Russian musical spoons most often are the beautifully carved and decorated wooden spoons famous in that part of the world. Where American spoon players usually use two silver spoons in one hand, Russian players typically play three or more and use both hands. They can also put extra spoons in pockets or on their clothes and use them as extra percussion surfaces.

If you watch this video of a folk orchestra featuring a spoon player, you’ll see some pretty amazing hand (and foot) work!

How do you pronounce “lozhki”? You can hear the correct pronunciation of the Russian word for spoons here: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/Ru-%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B6%D0%BA%D0%B0.ogg

Links and Resources

It’s So Easy to Play The Spoons! http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/its-so-simple-to-play-the-spoons/

Balalaika – Free Coloring Page: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Balalaika-Free-Coloring-Page-3030487

A Rhythm Tree For Earth Day Or Any Day

Here’s a great project for Earth Day or a summer camp or group play activity. It’s a fun way to combine recycling and reusing materials with discovering rhythm and creative music-making.

A while back, we did a post about rhythm trees and you can find that listed below.  But since we also get questions about the best components for this project, we thought we’d share a list here, just in time for outdoor musical fun.

And remember, if you don’t have the perfect music tree, you can also do this project on a clothesline or between poles on a playground.

So here’s our top suggestions.

Pizza Pie Plate Gong

STARR GARDENS - a few instruments for Rhythm TreeThese sound great and provide a nice large surface for tapping and drumming. Look for used metal containers such as turkey pans or pizza pie plates. They can be painted and decorated and hung at various heights from your tree or clothesline. If you can find trash can lids or used pans or pots that aren’t too heavy, they might make a nice addition to the project as well.

Milk Jug Rattle

Rhythm tree - clothesline instrumentsClean a large plastic container and add some rattling components inside. Decorate the outside of the container, if you like as well.  Seal it up and hang it for a nice sound when tapped. If you hang it low enough, kids can also grab and shake or “swoosh” the container for a different kind of percussion sound.

A Giant Guiro

rhythm tree - paper towel roll guiroThreading together wrapping paper or poster tube rolls makes for a giant guiro. Take a stick or a whisk and brush it down the sides for a fun repeating percussive sound.

 

Hanging Log Drum

rhythm tree playing tubeIf you can find a large tube like these, you can hang it up and play it like the type of log drums found in Africa, the Pacific Islands or the Northern Native American tribes, like the Inuit.  Tapping different sections of the drum will produce slightly different sounds – what fun!

Play With Your Hands – Or With Recycled Mallets

homemade guiro and 6 raspsSome of the instruments you hang can be tapped or played with your hands. Easy mallets can also be created from wooden dowels, wooden spoons, sticks, unsharpened pencils, plastic spoons or forks, hair picks, chopsticks or similar objects.

 

What Else Can You Find To Make Music With?

little-guy-and-washboardThe best part of this project is seeing how creative kids can be with everyday items. Encourage your little ones to come up with suggestions of what else might become part of an amazing and fun musical tree.

Links and Resources

Make Your Own Rhythm Tree:  http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/a-music-tree-or-rhythm-clothesline-for-outdoor-musical-fun/

Natural Instruments – Sticks, Stones and Bamboo Percussion For Kids: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/all-natural-instruments-sticks-stones-and-bamboo-percussion-for-kids/

Seven Awesome Summer Music Activities:  http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/7-awesome-summer-music-ideas/

Turn A Milk Jug Into A Recycled Shekere: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/turn-a-milk-jug-into-a-recycled-shekere/

The Pow-Wow Drum – Making a Beat, Together With Friends!

#31daysofrhythm FB

Did you now that March is Music In Our Schools month? What a great way to focus on how music enriches the lives of all students, young and old!

I’m part of a group of music educators that want parents, teachers and everyone to find lots of fun and creative ways to share music with kids. This year, our theme is “31 days of rhythm” so I wanted to share a bit about how pow-wow drumming.

What’s A Pow-Wow Drum?

Seven Cedars Sing At University of Pensylvania MuseumIf you’ve ever been to a Native American gathering, the pow-wow drum is at the center of the event.  At most pow-wows you’ll see a group of either men or women gathered around a big drum and everyone is playing and singing at the same time. They are all playing in unison, meaning the goal is to strike the drum together. And when a great drum group is playing, it sounds like thunder and shows the power of what people can do when they work (or play) cooperatively!

Make Your Own Pow-Wow Drum

DALLAS girls making drum at women's museumActual pow-wow drums are beautiful and many are very special and sacred. But I’ve done a post that explores the first pow-wow drum and you can easily make that at home. You can find it here as well as check out the sound of a traditional drum group playing and singing: http://www.dariamusic.com/drum.php

You’ll Need a Drum Beater

To play a pow-wow drum, each drummer needs their own beater. Check this link feathered drum beaterfor an equally simple craft to make your own pow-wow drum beaters: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/make-a-little-drum-beater-for-a-big-drum/

Now Let’s Play!

Every child can find a place around the fabric drum, holding the drum with one hand and their beater in the other. Then, they strike the drum together – at the same time. At first, a teacher or adult may want to tap out a beat to any familiar song and encourage the children to play along, hitting the drum at exactly the same time. Once the kids get the idea, the leader can also ask the children to kids drumming in DARIA workshop - ISRAELlisten carefully and do what she/he does. While playing the same song, she/he can play softer and they should tap softer.  He/she can play harder or a bit faster or slower and the drum group should do the same.

In Native cultures, drumming is just one way of teaching cooperation and listening skills as well.

Drumming Together

To practice drumming together, you might wish to try a simple song I used while teaching music and English in the Middle East. The students wanted to learn the days of the week in English so they drummed to the following little song. Whoever was leading set the pace and played the rhythm as they sang. When they finished, they pointed to someone who had listened and played well to be the next leader.

(one beat) Sunday,
(one beat) Monday,
(one beat) Tuesday,
(one beat) Wednesday,
(one beat) Thursday,
(one beat) Friday and
(three beats) SAT-UR-DAY (beaters must stop and raised in the air).

Happy drumming and check out all the posts for the 31 Days of Rhythm right here: https://musicedblogs.com/

Chinese New Year For Kids – Music and Crafts!

Screen shot 2017-01-27 at 11.40.50 AMIn 2017, the Chinese Lunar New Year begins on January 28th and we welcome in the year of the fire rooster!

Over the past years, we’ve shared some of our favorite music crafts that are easy to make for all ages and use recycled and “on-hand” materials. This year we decided to do share our 3 most popular music crafts as well as share our favorite Chinese New Year Pinterest Board, so you can explore a world of great crafts, foods, books, games and activities and related Chinese New Year Kids activities.

So bang a gong, make a paper lantern,color a New Years greeting and celebrate a beautiful Chinese Lunar New Year!

Music Posts

sheep goat gongMake Your Own Gong Post- http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/bang-a-gong/

PDF Activity (free on TPT) https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Chinese-Gong-From-Recycled-Materials-486935

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

PDF on TPT https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Monkey-Drum-Chinese-New-Year-Drum-Craft-1748044

Make Your Own Tinghsha Handbells – PDF on TPT Tinghsa on redhttps://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Explore-Tibetan-Handbells-Plus-a-Make-Your-Own-Handbell-Craft-560016

 

A World Of Great Crafts And Activities – Via Pinterest!

I’m proud to be part of the Multicultural Kid Bloggers networks who hosts a Chinese New Year Pinterest board.  Visit here for an ever-expanding collection of Screen shot 2017-01-27 at 12.05.38 PMgreat crafts, activities, coloring pages, books, foods and more.   Some of our favorite are the pretty paper lantern craft,  fortune cookie activity, the Chinese zodiac matching cards and … so … much … more!

https://www.pinterest.com/MKBlogs/chinese-new-year/