Monday, September 16, 2013

Boomwhacker Rhythms

It is rhythm review time in my third, fourth, and fifth grade classes. One of my favorite rhythm lessons involves a favorite instrument: the BOOMWHACKERS! There is just something about those colorful tubes that gets kids really excited about making music. I acquired this lesson from a workshop led by Chris Judah-Lauder many years ago.

After spending several weeks reviewing notes and rests using a variety of activities, I introduce these 6 rhythms patterns:


Once they can perform the rhythms comfortably, I divide them into 6 groups, pass out the instruments, and have each group practice their rhythm pattern. I have the groups play individually, two groups together, three groups together, and so on until we are playing all of the rhythms together. After some practice, we try the rhythms in canon starting and ending with the "Big Reds." This activity allows the students to practice playing contrasting rhythms (which is really tricky!) and it leads nicely into our Stomp rhythm projects (which are coming soon!). 



Here is a snippet of their practice session:  


And here is our final product:


A little bit of rushing but not too shabby! This lesson is challenging but very rewarding and the students love hearing how all of the rhythms interact with one another. It is definitely a favorite among my students.  :)

7 comments:

  1. What do you use on the ends of each stick? I would like to create some!

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    1. Hi Elia! The black caps are called Octavators and you can find out more info here: http://boomwhackers.com/octavator%E2%84%A2-tube-caps-8-pack-oc8g/ Most companies that sell Boomwhackers also sell these and they are really cheap! They lower the sound by an octave and I think it really improves the sound quality while also protecting the plastic. The students also enjoy having a different way to play them. Thanks for reading! :)

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  2. This is incredible, what a nice idea. I did not think of layering the sounds like this at all - noted! So you hit the floor for a sound and just a shake for a rest? Also does it make a pitch when you hit the floor with the Octavator, without hitting the body of the boomwhacker?

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    1. Thanks! The Octavators lower the boomwhacker pitch by an octave. They just tap the black cap against the carpet to make a sound. I usually have the students just tilt their boomwhacker to the side to represent a rest. :)

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  3. I love this lesson. We will simplify this lesson to layering 2 or 3 rhythms, but it is a great way to get them counting and performing. And the small group aspect allows the ones less secure to have a leader.

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  4. I personally want a set of these so much! I teach private lessons, but am putting a camp together and really thinking about investing in a set or two of these to use in the camp!! Love them and thanks for sharing!

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    1. Wonderful! Your students will love them and they are very reasonably priced. They are also very versatile - you can use them for note reading, rhythms, chords, composing, borduns, ostinatos, and so much more. :) I highly recommend getting the octavator caps because they sound so much better with them. Enjoy!

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