2017/5 Classroom Percussion – Group exercise for Early Years

Here’s a lesson that went rather well today.

I remembered one of the games I tripped across while looking at Drum circle activities, on youtube, posted by a drummer called Kalani. (I was so impressed by him, that I bought a book!).

In his game, he threw a ball in the air, and everyone played one tap on their instrument when he caught the ball.

I’d half remembered the game, and made a different version. Here’s how it went;

The class of year 1 and 2 children came in and sat in a circle as usual. I took a small, light beanbag, and threw it up in the air, to land on the floor. (giggles all round). I asked the children to say (not shout!) “Thud” when it landed, which they mostly managed, and after one or two attempts were very good at. I let a few children have a go with the beanbag, and then added the idea of pointing at the beanbag as it went up and down, and saying “thud” when it landed. Finally, we said (quite gently) “shhh” as the beanbag travelled, and said “thud”. By now, a number of children had taken turns at doing the beanbag thing as the extra complexities were added.

So, we were nearly there. I gave a child a shaker, and their task was to keep shaking while the beanbag was airborne and stop when the beanbag landed. A few more goes, and we were ready for the “off”.

At this point we discussed what made a good “go” at the beanbag shaker partnership. Sensible throwing, watching each other, paying attention were all suggestions offered by the children. I paired up the children, equipped each pair with a bean bag and a shaker, and instructions to Be Sensible and Take Turns and let them loose.

It was fairly chaotic; but by clapping my hands for stillness every so often and inviting a pair to show their effort the to class, the excitement levels were fairly well contained, and the children spent about ten minutes in carefully watching and concentrating on each other; exactly what is needed for successful group percussion work in music.

In fact, it went so well with this class, that I used the same activity, pushing it further, with the following class of Year 3 and 4 children. Guess what my next post will be about!.

Flying birds divider

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