Submitted by Nikki Febinger, Cleburne, Texas

Idea posted February 23, 2015

Here's something I do that is really fun, especially on a high-excitement-level day:

  • I put 6 hula hoops on the floor. ('Cause I only have 6. You could use more)
  • Inside each hoop, I put one kind of instrument. Triangles, tambourines, shaky eggs, wood blocks, Boomwhackers, etc.
  • "Charlie, Jenna, and Kate will start at the eggs." They sit around the hula hoop -- but DON'T TOUCH YET!!! Assign all the kids a starting instrument.
  • Pick up your instrument and play. I let them experiment for 15-20 seconds, then we all play the same way. Examples are fast, slow, loud, soft, next to your ear, behind your back, standing, marching in place, between your feet (low to the ground), over your head, marching around your hula hoop, jumping in place, lying on the ground.
  • Then, I play any song that's about 1-2 minutes long. A fast-paced AB song works well for this, so that they can hear the contrast and know when to change how they're playing.
  • "Great! Put your instruments down gently inside the hula hoop and sit around it. Now, if you just played the eggs, go to the tambourines..." etc.
  • Experiment with the new instrument and repeat! This can take up anywhere from 15-40 minutes depending on class size, number of hoops, etc.

Of course, you could experiment with timbre, membranophones vs. chordophones, dynamics, woods/skins/metals, whatever you wanted.