In this music lesson plan you’ll find a few ideas for creating a music lesson plan all about untuned percussion instruments.

You could have the students make their own drums. Do this as a demonstration with student participation, or, if you have the resources, let each student make a drum. 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.

The can can be placed upright on the drumhead material. Mark a circle that is 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) greater in diameter than 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.

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.

Explain the difference between a membranophone and an idiophone. 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.