Hit, Bang, Scrape – Lesson plans about percussion

Here are a couple of lesson planning ideas for teaching about percussion in the elementary, middle or even junior high school music class.

Making drums is always a fun activity with younger students. Students can make their own drums if you have enough materials, otherwise you could do it as a class project. You will need an empty coffee can or other large can, a sheet of rubber / heavy plastic or a chamois for the drumhead, a large rubber band, a marker or chalk, scissors and a pencil or other 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. The circle can then be cut out, stretched tightly over the can and secured with the rubber band. Tap our rhythms with the pencil or stick.

In africa some cultures mimic language with “talking drums” Students can separate into small groupings and alternate playing a message to the rest of their group with these homemade drums, hand clapping or other simple percussion instruments. Make up a game to see if anyone else in the group can understand the content of the message.

Music Lesson plans for classroom music.

Call and response rhythms: With drums, handclaps, or makeshift percussion instruments, play a series of rhythms and let students repeat those rhythms together.

Show students and discuss the differences between tuned and untuned percussion instruments. Name some instruments and ask students to identify them as either tuned or untuned.

You can spend some time talking about idiophones and membranophones – what they are and how to know which is which. Students could identify them as one or the other when you name them.

Have students make percussion instrument flash cards, from artwork provided here at the Fun Music Company website. Ask them to cut out the pictures and affix them to index cards; write the instrument names on the backs of the cards.

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