Helping students learn about Percussion creatively

In this article you’ll find a few ideas for creating Music Lesson plans all about untuned percussion instruments.

You could have the students make their own drums. Students can make their own drums if you have enough materials, otherwise you could do it as a class project. You’ll simply need a large empty can, some rubber or chamois for the drum head, a large rubber band to hold it on, and a small stick to play it with.

Place the can upright on the drumhead material. Mark out a circle that is a few centimeters (1-2 inches) larger than the diameter of the can. Cut out the circle; stretch it tightly over the open end of the can, and secure it with the rubber band. The pencil or stick can then be used to play our rhythms

Some cultures in Africa use “talking drums” to mimic spoken language. Have the students break out into small groups and take turns playing a message to their peers with a drum, handclaps, or other makeshift percussion instrument. Make up a game to see if anyone else in the group can understand the content of the message.

You can use echo or call and response rhythms very effectively. With drums, handclaps, or makeshift percussion instruments, play a series of rhythms and let students repeat those rhythms together.

Explain the difference between tuned and tuned; this can also be described as definite vs. indefinite pitch, or tone vs. noise. You could have a quiz where you name an instrument and ask the class to identify them as untuned or tuned.

Explain the difference between a membranophone and an idiophone. Name some percussion instruments and ask students to identify them as one or the other.

You could have the students help you make flash cards of all the instruments just learned about. Students can write the names of the instruments on the back of the cards after cutting them out.

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