Issue 86: Tambourines

I’ve just added another set of instruments to the armoury that I keep in the back of the car; a bag of eight simple tambourines (without skins). I spotted them in a display of random wooden instruments in a shop that sells books and art stuff and stationery and toys and children’s musical instruments and gardening stuff and trinkets and – well you never know quite what they will have on the shelves from one week to the next. Today there was an eclectic mix of castanets, shakers, jungle sticks and wooden recorders all for just a few pounds each.

I did try and persuade the people in the shop to just burn the recorders instead of selling them, but they not unreasonably refused to go along with this excellent idea. So I will just have to endure it when I see children turn up with them in recorder lessons; out of tune, with fuzzy timbre and disappointingly unable to produce the lower notes. Ah well.

I bought the tambourines to add to my junk samba kit; some of the samba sets that have been supplied to the schools I teach in have rather subdued ganzas (shakers). The teacher I worked alongside when I was learning how to teach samba would substitute tambourines for these ganzas with much more satisfactory results.

Unlike the monkey in the picture, the children should hold the tambourines horizontally, so that the jingles are silent, and then tap the head (or in my case, just the rim) to produce a neat, clear, rhythmic sound, or shake them for a longer sound.


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