Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Our music basket

One constant in our playroom/learning areas is that we always have a basket of instruments out.  I change the instruments occasionally, but some assortment is always available.  Here are a few that are being particularly enjoyed right now:

*I inherited this metal tin from Mimi during a garage clean out a few years ago and it makes THE BEST drum!  The drumstick varies, but right now it's the wooden handle from a kitchen baster brush (the silicon brush part comes off to wash).  We have also put pennies, rice, beans, etc. inside to make more of a "snare drum" sound, but with Little Brother right now, we just use it "as is."

*My kids LOVE tp and papertowel tubes.  Whenever I finish one I always present it to them with a loud "dooo-de-dooo" trumpet sound and they go nuts to try and get it from me.  Often I have to cut it in half so each kid gets a piece.  We do lots of songs through the tubes and even some trumpeting!  I will someday rock their worlds by showing them the wax paper/rubberband magic that turns it into a kazoo!

*Beck has a wooden baby teether/rattle I made him that we discovered makes a great sound--sorta like rain--when it gets shaken.  We rescued it from the "outgrown baby toys" basket and it now resides with our instruments!  Lots of baby toys make music and can be repurposed as an instrument for older children.  Check out your stash!!

*My sister gave Q a triangle for her birthday and it's been a huge hit with both kids.  It takes quite a bit of coordination to hold one side and play with the other hand, so I love watching them try to do it!  I have seen these at the dollar store recently and I think they are definitely a staple to an instrument set!  Plus the noise is so pleasant!

So nothing amazing, but a few simple items we are enjoying.  A couple years back I met a lady that had her master's degree in early childhood music education and was a guru in the field.  Her own two boys are in highschool and are musical genuises.  Not that I have that ambition for my kids, but I we do love music, and at the very heart of it, I believe that God gave us the ability to use music to worship him (we've been studying the life of David recently, which totally drives home this point with the kids).  Anyhow, I asked this mom/teacher/musician what her number one recommendation in teaching music at home was--she said to always have instruments available and to take "music breaks" whenever possible to just sit and sing, play, and explore.  She said conventional instruments are great, but even better is to offer some unusual instruments and ask "How could we make music with this?"  Such a open-ended, thought-provoking, creativity-encouraging activity!  This is the core of "music education" at our house!!

I encourage you to start a music basket if you don't already have one.  Ours is nothing fancy, in fact one handle is even broken.  And it's not very big.  Only a few choices at a time are practical. 
If you DO have a music basket, I encourage you to assess its contents and see if there is any updating needed!
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