Tag Archives: world music for kids

Introducing The Music of China To Children

Hi! I’m Elizabeth, a mother and music teacher. I’m thrilled to be guest-posting on Tiny Tapping Toes today about Chinese music- I’m excited to connect with you and share some of my ideas!
china post ttt graphic
As a music teacher who grew up among cultures, I am passionate about introducing children to music from cultures other than their home culture. Although it can be intimidating to share a culture with your children that you aren’t that familiar with yourself, it can be such a rewarding learning experience for everyone, and the benefits are incredible! Today I want to share some of my favorite simple ways to introduce the music and culture of China to young children.

I know this is not exactly a traditional way to start, but I usually use a clip or two of 12 Girls Band to first introduce children to Chinese music. This is a great one:

Also this:

We of course discuss which instruments are traditionally Chinese and which or not- that part is pretty clear- but it is a great way to showcase many of the instruments from China, see how they are played and what they sound like, and also get a taste of what Chinese music is like while still sounding somewhat familiar- this is like the gateway to exploring the traditional music that will sound more foreign and strange to their ears. Plus it is so much fun!I use these recordings as a starting point to jump into a discussion of Chinese instruments, including the erhu, xiao, dizi, pipa, guzheng (duzheng), and yangqin.

After showing one of the “Twelve Girls Band” videos, I usually show them pictures of each instrument, tell them the name of each one, and see if they noticed how each one is played, or what familiar instrument it is most similar to. Then we watch one more video and I have them point out and identify each instrument as we see it. I use that as an introduction to Chinese music as a whole, but in subsequent lessons I will show them short clips of each instrument in a more traditional setting. This one is great for showing short excerpts of lots of different instruments:

I have used a lot of different songs in my classes over the years. There is so much that is included, both historically and geographically, when we talk about “Chinese music”, that it’s honestly hard for me to pick one song! The last few years I have used “Cowboy” (I know, you’re already thinking what? stay with me…). I don’t generally like to teach songs from other cultures with translated lyrics- I think it takes away from giving the students an authentic presentation of the song- so I always try to find songs that have fewer lyrics while still being interesting. This one fits the bill (although, let’s be honest, we are talking about a rather difficult language for English speakers- it will still take some time!) and has some great possibilities for discussions about Chinese history, architecture, and/or geography. You can find the original lyrics, the translation, the notation, and a sung recording on Mama Lisa’s website here.

With any of the songs that I use, I will usually add some simple rhythms on percussion instruments. Here is an example of some of the percussion parts I might add (this one has tambourine, hand drum, and finger cymbals):

Gongs, triangles, and rhythm sticks would also be good choices for adding some quick instrument accompaniment.

One more thing that I like to cover is Beijing (Peking) Opera. I don’t introduce this genre until we are well into our study of Chinese music, because I don’t want students to immediately start laughing or draw back in disgust, but it is such a significant part of Chinese music that I think it is important for students to at least be exposed to it when they study the music of China in general. I usually use a clip from this video to show in class (it is nice because it has the English translation underneath- so it is important to check and make sure the material is appropriate before you show it! I haven’t come across anything that is not, but I haven’t watched the whole thing so please do check beforehand):

I usually introduce the genre by telling students that Beijing opera is one of the most famous forms of Chinese music historically. I also tell them in advance that it is going to sound and look very different from what they are expecting, but that I want them to tell me what they notice after watching.  Most students tell me that they notice the performers moving with the instruments, their makeup and costumes are very dramatic, and they sound like they are half-singing and half-speaking. We often end up having a very good conversation about what the definition of music is, because there are usually some students who question whether or not this “counts” as music at all! You can learn more about the genre here and here.

I hope you found some new ideas for exploring Chinese music and culture with your children! Thank you so much to Daria for letting me share my ideas on her site. I’d love to hear from you! If you’d like to stay in touch with me, please head on over to my site, Organized Chaos, where I share resources and thoughts to give parents and teachers the freedom to be creative through purposeful organization and broadened perspectives. You can find more posts on sharing music from other cultures right here. I hope you’ll stop in to say hello!

Links And Resources

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

Color A Chinese Erhu
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chinese-Instrument-Erhu-Free-Coloring-Page-3236532

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

Seven Days of Learning Mandarin Through Music
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/chinese-mandarin/7-days-of-learning-mandarin-chinese-through-music/

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A Trip Around The World In Song!

mama-lisa-book-coverThis is my new favorite international kids song songbook!

To be honest, I’ve been a huge fan of the website – Mama Lisa’s World – for years, so I was thrilled to be able to review this new compilation songbook. It has 100 songs from global cultures – including indigenous cultures – along with descriptions, sheet music, translations and notes on where to find MIDI and recorded version for listening. This book simply could not be more complete – or more fun!

Many of the songs that Lisa has selected are not just great songs, they are also games and offer wonderful ways to combine music, language and movement. Because translations come with each song, you can also easily start learning  simple words and phrases in other languages as well.

Where does this songbook go? It opens in Africa with welcome songs, circle dances and call-and-response tunes. Next, the songbook goes to Asia, with songs of friendship, love and play. After that, you can find favorites from Australia and the islands of Oceania. In the songs selected from Europe, you’ll meet familiar characters like the Sandman and Little Red Riding Hood. Of course, there are mama-lisa-book-pagealso songs from North America, including an Iroquois lullaby as well as English and French Canadian songs. The book closes with songs from Central and South America, including music with roots in Hispanic, Afro-Hispanic and Indigenous cultures.

What more do you need to know? This is definitely a must-have songbook for anyone who loves children’s songs and world music! You can buy both digital copies or a full size physical copy at the links below.

Links And Resources

Digital Copy From Gumroad (352 Pages/5.64 MG/3.99) https://gumroad.com/l/GvQVT#

Kid Songs Around The World: A Mama Lisa Book (Physical Copy) From Amazon http://a.co/3mx1z0o

Free Music Resources For Back To School

WOM mini postersWhether you’re a classroom teacher, a homeschooler or a parent who loves sharing music, you’ve probably already found the wonderful site – TeachersPayTeachers. It’s filled with all kinds of resources including a huge amount of freebies and fun for all aspects of teaching, not just music.

If you follow me on TPT here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Daria-Music you’re welcome to enjoy my fantastic back-to-school freebies. At this time of year, I generally set four of my top-selling items to “0” so my followers and friends can take advantage of these resources as they plan ahead to the coming year.

WHAT’S FREE THIS YEAR?

You can get my Parent’s Choice Award-winning children’s music cd – Beautiful Rainbow World – including songs from 12 world cultures. There’s a pack of mini-posters of world music instruments from all across the globe plus two instrument-making craft activities. Until Friday  (August 12th),  follow me on TPT and you can download these items for free:

ADD SOME MULTICULTURAL MUSIC TO YOUR CLASSROOM https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Multicultural-Music-CD-Beautiful-Rainbow-World-by-DARIA-1189106

WHO DOESN’T LOVE POSTERS AND MINI-POSTERS? https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/World-Music-Instrument-Mini-Posters-2182210

PERFECT FOR NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH (NOVEMBER) https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Native-American-Turtle-Shell-Rattle-Craft-Using-Recycled-Materials-600715

EXCELLENT FOR NEW YEAR AND CHINESE NEW YEAR FUN https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Monkey-Drum-Chinese-New-Year-Drum-Craft-1748044

WHAT ELSE IS NEW IN DARIA’s TPT STORE?

We’ve also just added two fun mini-courses that share the Instruments Of India along with Ancient Instruments From The Middle East. There’s gorgeous coloring pages of darbuka drums, sitars and handbells along with crafts to make Screen shot 2016-08-09 at 1.10.15 PMIndian ankle bells, dhol drums or even an Egyptian sistrum that dates back to the time of the pyramids! Plus there’s lots of songs, lyric sheets, sheet music, activities, E-books and more.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Instruments-of-India-Mini-Course-2682389

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ancient-Instruments-From-The-Middle-East-Mini-Lesson-2127995

Just drop by and become a follower, here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Daria-Music

UPDATE:  Did you miss the free items because the sale is over?  If you are a teacher or homeschooling family on a limited budget, drop DARIA a line at dariamusic at yahoo dot com.  She can often send along a free copy of one of her resources for your classroom!

And happy planning for the school or homeschool year for 2016/2017!

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!

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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