28th Oct 2014

Percussion in the Classroom

One of the most fun ways to introduce music to your classroom environment may be to create percussionists. What is great about percussion instruments is that they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and sounds, making them perfect for just about any group of individuals no matter age or size. Another benefit is that they often require little to no musical background or formal instruction.

There are various ways to enjoy percussion in the classroom. You can introduce different types of drums that are portable and easy for learning a basic rhythm. Some drums that suit classrooms well are bongos and frame drums. Bongos may need to be tuned or you can find basic, lower-level designs that don’t. Depending upon the age range you are working with, you may find low maintenance bongos to be a good deal. If you want bongos that will last throughout your career, though, regular, tunable bongos are probably a better decision. Frame drums are similar in this way. You can find frame drums with or without mechanical tuning.

Beyond drums, a magical world opens up for people interested in using percussion in the classroom. There are instruments that rattle and jingle (hand bells, maracas, and rainmakers are some), wooden block instruments (such as tone blocks and agogos), metal instruments (including the beloved triangle, agogo bells, and gongs), and tuned percussion instruments like the xylophone, tubular bells, and chimes. These categories and the selections within them would be enough for most classroom percussion collections, but there are more to choose from.

Concussion instruments (such as cymbals, claves, and castinets) and friction instruments (like sandpaper blocks and the shekere) round out any classroom collection. The simplicity of all these instruments is where their beauty lies. Most children and adults can easily maneuver and work the types of instruments that are especially geared for use in classrooms. From simply striking with your hand or rubbing two pieces together, the sounds generated by these instruments are both musical and distinguishable. This allows for both harmonizing challenges for older students who may wonder what they can learn from instruments they may not have touched since their preschool years and the fun of being able to hear one’s own musical genius at work when one is too young to appreciate an orchestrated effort.

The variety of instruments available to anyone wanting to use percussion in the classroom is immense. These days, instructors also have the added benefit of being able to easily find quality instruments regardless of the ages and skill levels of their students. By including percussion in the classroom experience, instructors are not only giving students an extra creative outlet, but they are also giving them a mental boost that will help in every area of life. There is a world beyond drums and triangles for the classroom musical experience and luckily it’s easy and fun to navigate.