Ideas For Boomwhackers®

Why Boomwhackers®?

Submitted by Music K-8 List Members,

Idea posted 2003-07-28

Martha Stanley, NBCT in Tallahassee wrote:

Help me understand why some people like Boomwhackers®. I don't get it. They sound bad, they're not very loud, they don't make much music, and they're expensive for plastic tubes.

We've gone on and on about nice-sounding Orff instruments, and yet we also use Boomwhackers®. That seems contradictory to me.

Cak Marshall, Salem, Oregon:

You are absolutely correct in all you have stated, but I think there is a case for Boomwhackers®. I have used them for children who could not handle a recorder because of fine motor problems. I still have two sets that I bought myself. And, like the finest Orff ensemble or most accomplished hand bell choir, they require immediate concentration from the players.

Connie Herbon, Iowa:

I held off purchasing Boomwhackers® until this year for many of the same reasons. Discovering some extra money left in my budget this year, I found that for an investment of under $150, I could have enough tubes with Octavator™ Tube Caps for every student to have at least one Boomwhacker® in most activities. I do have nice barred Orff instruments and will be able to use them again on a regular basis when my new room is finished.

Frankly, I needed something different and felt my students did too. I no longer have 5ths, so no more guitar classes. With no 4ths, I don't even have recorder players, which I really enjoyed teaching. The Boomwhackers® met our needs at this time.

As for sounding bad, they don't have to. We drop the pitch an octave with the caps and whack the capped end on carpeted floor or on a pad over tile floor. We tried tapping on our hands and legs but ruled that out for the sound we wanted. My students have really enjoyed our new playing experience. The high school theory students even borrowed them and performed "Whacky Do, Re, Mi" for their fellow band members.

("Whacky Do, Re, Mi" can be found in Whacky Do Re Mi and Other Boomwhacker® Favorites.)

Tami Mangusso, Aurora, Colorado:

Here's why I like Boomwhackers®:

  1. Boomwhackers® are cheaper than Orff instruments.
  2. They are easier to store and set-up.
  3. They are great for teaching chords and scales.
  4. They give the students a challenge because they are only playing one or two notes.

I have my students hit the Boomwhackers® parallel to the floor rather than hitting just one end of the tube. This produces a better quality sound.

I also like Orff instruments, and I do use them, but I don't have enough of them for everyone to play on them. It can be a challenge to keep all students engaged in the activity. You either have to take the time to give everyone a turn, or try to keep track of who has had a turn.

Kristin Lukow, Nebraska:

Oh my goodness! I adore Boomwhackers®. They engage my students and are such an incredible and inexpensive learning tool. You get to see and experience the scale in a funky way. You get to make chords with other students and improvise ostinatos as well as melodies. And the smiles... the laughter... it is so easy to teach with these things. Children love to whack!! I love to teach with Boomwhackers®!!!!!