Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring and Easter Music Ideas and Freebies

I've added a fun yet meaningful activity for young students as a FREEBIE in my TPT Store. It can be used in centers or team activities to reinforce and assess so-mi-la, ta, ti-ti, rest and engage students in composing, clapping and singing. Here's a linked preview:

I've created some beautiful new materials for spring. These are favorites of my students, and I think you and your students will also find them useful and joyful. 

In my "Spring" Listening, Moving and Mapping set, I have included a two-page teaching guide, form-mapping cards for both younger and older students (Level I: ta, ti-ti, rest, ta-ah; and Level 2: ti-ti, ti-tiki, syncopa), printable and projectable sonnet text pages and score page, and links to music and additional resources.

My Spring Fling set is loaded with 70 text-to-rhythm cards, 48 possible ostinato strips / measure mats, and four detailed, engaging lesson plans with suggestions for extensions and variations.

These are some of my spring products posted last year which have received excellent feedback:

And last but not least, here's an oldie but goodie FREEBIE:  : )  

Happy Easter and happy spring! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 24, 2014

More Home-made Stringed Instruments - How to Make a String-ophone

I'm a music 'junkie' in more ways than one! (1) I am  definitely hooked on music. I can't imagine life without it. (2) I hear music in everything - movement, language, environments, machinery, and junk. And if you follow my blog, you know I get a kick out of making instruments from throw-away and found items.

In my last post about how to make a bottle guitar, I promised more to come, so here are a few of my chordophone gems. These aren't just noise-makers; they are instruments capable of a fairly decent tone and a pitch range between four and eight notes. I have made these with groups of 20-30 students at a time (having done the cutting and drilling ahead of time). Here's a demo video of the twist-top instrument (pictures and instructions below).

A plastic bottle with a twist-top lid (rigid enough to support string tension)
String - heavy fishing line, thin wire, or a piece of a broken guitar string
Two plastic pony beads or buttons

An electric drill  (Please have an adult do the drilling and cutting.)
An X-acto knife, pocket knife or small paring knife
Felt-tip marker

How To
(1)  Drill a small hole in the bottom center of your bottle.

(2)  Mark the area you want to cut out for a sound hole (approximately 3 cm wide by 8 cm long, or 1.2 in by 3 in). Puncture the bottle with your knife in the center of the area you have marked, and then carefully cut to and around the inside edge of your line. Note: Avoid cutting the opening too big because it will weaken the bottle. On some bottles, you can use scissors to cut the plastic once the hole is started.

(3)  Tie one end of your string to a bead (or button) using a square knot. 

(4)  Twist the lid to the open position, remove it from the bottle and keep it close by.

(5) Push the free end of the string into the hole you drilled in the bottom of the bottle. Guide the string through the bottle and out the top.  Then push the string through the twist-top lid and screw the lid back onto the bottle.

(6)  Pull the string as tight as possible with one hand while turning the twist-top to the closed position with your other. 

(7)  Draw the top piece of string through a bead (or button) a couple of times, pulling tightly. Then tie a square knot under the bead and trim excess string.

(8)  Decorate with stickers or marker if desired. Enjoy! As in the video above, pluck the string through the sound hole and twist the lid to change pitch.

Here are some variations using various bottles (including a 2 liter pop bottle, a pancake syrup bottle, and a one liter pop bottle). In place of a twist top, tie the string to a clothespin or short wooden dowel and tip the stick to create tension on the string.

Here's a link to a great website by a fellow music 'junkie,' Nick Penny. Check out his video instructions for making a 'Poptar' with a 2 liter bottle: