Whacky Cha Cha

by Teresa Jennings

By now, we think everyone knows what Boomwhackers® are. But just in case you don't, we'll tell you. Boomwhackers® are pitched plastic tubes that are played by striking them in a percussive manner. They are color coded for pitch (for example, C is red). They are played similarly to handbells. Students find their note or notes (if they are holding more than one Boomwhacker®) on a given piece of music and play when it is time. We have found that playing Boomwhackers® helps kids learn rhythms better and concentrate on reading more. We have also found that no matter how old our performers are, they love to play Boomwhackers® (even if they don't want to admit it). It just might be the tool to get some of those older students more involved in music class.

In our recording sessions, we play Boomwhackers® by striking them on hard wooden stools. You can also strike your hand, the floor, your thigh, the wall, whatever works for you. Experiment with it to see what you prefer. Be forewarned though: The moment a kid has a Boomwhacker® in his hands, he will not be able to resist the temptation to start playing it. You might want to let players have a few minutes to get it out of their systems before trying to actually accomplish anything. You might also want to establish some rules about appropriate uses of Boomwhackers®, lest they become swords, clubs, and so on.

The song "Whacky Cha Cha" is yet another simple tune that allows you to use every note of the C scale, giving every player a chance to play. It is also slow and simple enough for you to use as a teaching tool for beginning readers. The rhythms are all quarter and eighth notes.

In case you don't have enough Boomwhackers® for everyone, we have included a vocal line, too. This way, you can alternate players and singers. We suggest that you let Boomwhackers® play part 1 the first time and part 2 the second time. The vocal parts do the opposite.

This is a great way for you to introduce Boomwhackers® and get your kids playing quickly.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.