Tag Archives: world music

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 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Vuvuzela-Make-Play-Your-Own-South-African-Stadium-Horn-1242716

Russia
 -Balalaika –Poster and Coloring Page
 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Balalaika-Mini-Poster-and-Coloring-Page-917136

Hawaii
 – Ukulele Poster and Coloring Page 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Ukulele-A-Stringed-Instrument-from-Hawaii-Mini-Poster-and-Coloring-Page-1095283

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 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Charango-An-Instrument-from-South-America-Mini-Poster-and-Coloring-Page-613417

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

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Using Multicultural Music to Bond with Your Toddler

A Guest Post by Prerna Mallik of “The Mom Writes”

Need a fun and interesting way to spend time with your always on-the-move toddler? Check out multicultural music CDs and videos. These song-filled CDs derive inspiration from the variety and richness of cultures around us and are a great way to bond with your preschooler.

Here’s more about them:

What is Multicultural Music?
Multicultural music consists of songs, videos or lyrics that present a variety of different cultures. These can be used as is or maybe adapted to suit our own native culture. You may not realize it but we’ve all been exposed to multicultural music at some point of time or the other. Feliz Navidad is an excellent example of this.

How Can Multicultural Music Help Your Toddler?
Multicultural music is a fantastic way of spending time with your toddler, having fun and learning as well. Music from across the world teaches toddlers that while we may have different colors, languages and homes, we are all one. We feel the same emotions, experience the same challenges and celebrate in pretty much the same way.

Multicultural music opens up a whole new world for a toddler. Literally. Listening to a song can lead to many fun bonding activities. For instance, if you listen to a song from Mexico, you can do the Mexican hat dance, spend time reading about that country and try to make some hot chocolate like in the popular song “Bate Bate Chocolate”. If you like songs like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” from Africa, you can make a great preschool craft – a sticker shekere (http://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/make-a-sticker-shekere/ ) that is just as much fun as the real instrument from Africa. And you and your young child can play along to your favorite songs.

Doesn’t that sound like a whole lot of fun!

Another great way to use multicultural music is to pick a country each month and then, listen to the songs from that part of the world. For instance, you can pick Latin America and listen to a variety of songs in Spanish and other languages found in Latin America. You can find a lot of fun, free songs online. Three great websites are DARIA’s World Music for Kids (www.dariamusic.com), Mama Lisa’s World (www.mamalisa.com/world/) and Kiddiddles (www.kididdles.com/) .

World music is a fantastic way of inspiring interests in geography, history and cultural studies. Pop in a CD on your way to the school or on a road trip and you’ll have preschoolers singing in a variety of languages before you know it!

Have you listened to multicultural music with your toddler?

Prerna Malik is a mom, a home manager and a web content expert. Join her at The Mom Writes where she talks about parenting toddlers, living green and simple, and being in the business of writing. Find her at www.themomwrites.com