Ideas For Boomwhackers®

First Boomwhacker® Session Lesson Plan

Submitted by Gretchen Taylor, Illinois

Idea posted 2002-10-23

This is it, the moment of truth. Thursday, I introduce my seventh and eighth graders to Boomwhackers®. I took many suggestions from the Mailing List, coupled them with my own "methodology," and came up with the following plan. This is simply to lay a foundation. My main purpose here is to set a precedent for understanding, order, and fun. Here's the basic overview...

I. Meet the tubes

A. Have one diatonic set up on the chalk tray for show.

B. Show tubes, highlighting their features (length = pitch) and limitations (thin, breakable plastic; not a real loud sound; etc.).

C. Demo basic holding/playing techniques.

II. Rules

A. No excessive force to be used when playing.

B. No hitting anything other than self or other objects as directed.

C. No contact with mouth.

D. You bend/break, you replace.

E. No horseplay whatsoever.

F. Tubes are to be seen and not heard until permission to play is given.

III. Formations

A. At this point, we will move the chairs away and I will pass out three sets of Music Alphabet cards, one card per student. I will draw a line formation on the board by pitches. Then I will instruct the kids to arrange themselves in this formation based on the pitch card they are holding. (I will challenge them to do this very quietly and be in place before I get to 20 taps on my hand drum.) I will also show them a few other formations we'll be using (circle, semicircle, and scattered). I may then have them arrange themselves into a scattered formation, exchange cards with a neighbor, and return again to the line formation (but in new places with their new pitch cards). At this point, I'll collect their cards. I need to see that they can conduct and arrange themselves in an orderly & cooperative fashion with pitch cards BEFORE I put the tubes in their hands. Remember, these are the bigger kids. :)

IV. Time to play

A. Draw C major scale on board using pitch names only in ascending order. Play scale on piano, then have all sing scale by letters, numbers, and solfège pitches up and back.

B. Ask them to refresh their memory of which pitch they'll be playing by where they are in line.

C. Pass out the tubes (3 per pitch).

D. Allow a few moments of whacky applause, then resume holding position at the light signal.

V. Rhythm scale warm-up

A. Display a simple rhythm pattern (4 beats). All clap, then all whack together.

B. Play the scale up and back in pitch order with each pitch playing the card pattern.

C. Vary the patterns to where they're playing a scale in half notes, then quarter notes w/o pause.

VI. Hot Cross Buns (in three keys)

A. All sing the song in C. Discuss C as the home tone or do, but how HCB doesn't begin on do, but on mi. Simulate the melodic direction with tubes held horizontally while singing again in C.

B. Move the high C players to low C or other available pitches.

C. Play the song in C (EDC), F (AGF), and G (BAG).

D. Circle these pitch groups on the scale on board for visual aid. After ea playing, all provide whacky applause.

VII. Listen For Your Letter

A. I'm going to skip the little song here and simply have them echo-play various pitch patterns that I sing or play first on the piano in a steady continuous fashion without pause.

VIII. Whacky Cha Cha (from Music K-8, Vol. 12, No. 3, also available in Whacky Fun 1), if time.
IX. Return tubes & chairs.

The class is about 45 min. long. That's it.