Percussion in the elementary music class

Teaching a lesson about percussion in music class? here are a few ideas that are suitable for elementary through to junior high school.

Music Lesson plans for classroom music.

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 a circle that is 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) greater in diameter than 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.

Some cultures in Africa use “talking drums” to mimic spoken language. 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.

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.

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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