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

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 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.

The can can be placed 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.

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. See if anyone can understand the content of the message.

A new more Music Lesson plan ideas for classroom music.

You can use echo or call and response rhythms very effectively. Using your home made drums, clapping or using traditional percussion instruments you can play a series of rhythms and have students echo them back to you.

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. Students can write the names of the instruments on the back of the cards after cutting them out.