Ideas For Boomwhackers®

Reading Rhythms Activity With Boomwhacker® and Rhythm Instruments

Submitted by Karen Renton, Topsham, Maine

Idea posted 2002-03-01

I purchased Boomwhackers® a while ago and must admit that I wasn't all that thrilled with kids playing just one note at a time or following music that had the letter names written underneath... But, I stumbled onto an idea that worked really well this week...

We've been working on ABA form, and after having listened to Andersen's "Sleighride" and doing the circle ball pass activity, the students worked in groups to create 4 4 beat rhythm measures.

After they wrote out their rhythm patterns and could clap them for me, they were able to get either rhythm instruments or Boomwhackers® to make their piece either a rhythm piece or a melodic piece. They then were encouraged to listen to each other and experiment with different ideas of how to perform the piece. Then as a group they decided which they liked the best and practiced it. At the end of class, I put the finished pieces together to create a piece in ABA form which they performed. The Boomwhacker® (melodic) pieces were particularly interesting and the kids had a great time. They work really well when reinforcing the reading of rhythms!!!

O.K., I knew someone would ask about the sleighride activity, so here it is...

  • A section - Sit in a circle. Each student has a yarn ball, which they pass to the beat.
  • B section - Remember the numbers 4, 4, and 12. Count to 4 tossing the ball from right hand to left, then toss the ball and catch it. I say, "1, 2, 3, 4, Toss... Catch." Toss and catch are half notes. Repeat this, then count to 12 doing the same thing ending with another toss and catch. I have them just toss it in the air and then catch it. Repeat this whole process.
  • "1, 2, 3, 4, toss catch, 1, 2, 3, 4, toss, catch, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, toss... catch." They then have 8 beats to get ready for the A section again.
  • A section - Repeat the ball pass...
  • Coda - Listen for the trumpets sounding like the neighing of the horse, and throw the balls into the ball container. Go back to your seats.

My kids love this...