Teach Notation and Chords with Boomwhackers

The first time I saw Boomwhackers was more than 20 years ago and I was instantly intrigued.  They are colorful plastic tubes that can play pitches of the C scale.  (and more if you purchase chromatic sets)  I bought them and then started to experiment with them, but wasn’t really sure what to do with them.
 
You can play melodies, rhythms or chords with Boomwhackers. 
In our new Boomwhacker section at Musicplayonline, we’ve created a resource that you can use to teach your students melodies with chords - what a great way to introduce the reading of pitches on the staff to your students.
 
The Boomwhacker Section is inwww.Musicplayonline.com in the left menu - between recorder and xylophone.  
 
There is a menu across the top with tabs for each section:  

 

Word Highlights

The words of the song are colored using Boomwhacker colors.  This is a great literacy tool for K-1-2 for beginning readers.   The cover page tells the notes that will be used.  If you want to use 3 note songs and you have 24 students in your class, you’ll need to have 8 sets of diatonic Boomwhackers. (CDEFGABC sets)

 
3 note, 4 note, 5 note, 6 note, 7 note and scale songs: 

The menu for each song gives the chords used, the rhythm pattern, the pitches used and lists the options for projecting.

 
 
 
 
You can teach the song using video or use the slideshow option.
Video 1 is Kidsnotes - the letter name is embedded on the note. 
Video 2 is Colored Boomwhacker notation.
Video 3 is the Note Highlight movie - the pitches are highlighted as the students play them.
 
The slideshow also has the Kids notes, Colored notes option.
The slideshows 3rd option is regular notation.  (The note highlight is only possible in the video)
 
The PDF file can be downloaded and printed.  Use this as a center!

If you don’t have 8 sets of Boomwhackers, you may choose to use the 5-8 note songs so fewer sets are needed.
If you want each child to have a tube to play a 5 note song, and you have 30 students in the class, you’ll need 6 sets of Boomwhackers.
 
I’d suggest teaching your classes the staff lesson (in the Units section, Theory tab), and working with them on naming notes each class before you start playing the Boomwhackers.  They can practice naming notes on the cookie sheet staff, on their hand staff, and on the floor staff.  You can use note name flashcards or note name games to help them remember the letter names for the pitches on the staff.    Online, use the Pop Quiz or Note Name Memory to practice letter names.

Pop Quizzes are available from any grade level. I start teaching the letter names of pitches in Gr. 3 or 4.
Choose the level of the Treble Clef Pop Quiz.
 
 
Note Name Memory is one of the Music Games atwww.musicplayonline.com.
It's really well designed and has two levels.  You can choose lines, spaces or staff.
 
 
The Interactive Boomwhacker is found in this section and is a useful way to show the students how chords are built, and how scales can be ascending or descending.
 

 
This is the chord demo in the Interactive Boomwhacker section - shows which tubes make a chord.

  
This is the illustration of the notes used to make a chord in the Boomwhacker Notation section.
 
  
This is the ascending scale in the Boomwhacker Notation section.
 
 
This is the descending scale in the Boomwhacker Notation section.
 
Stick Games are fun to play with Boomwhackers for your upper elementary students.  These are all games from Musicplay, and when you click on the link, you’ll be taken to the song.  You’ll have kids demo videos, and all the song videos to teach the song to the students. These are usually for students in gr. 3-6.  But you can also use Boomwhackers to play hand clap games with younger students.
 
Many teachers use Musication videos from YouTube with their students. We’ve given links to these videos, along with information on pitches and rhythms that are used.
 
These are fun, but since most of them use letter names rather than teaching children to read staff notation, save these for incentives or rewards.
 
There are 24 five note songs, sequenced with easier rhythms first.
There are 22 six note songs, sequenced by rhythm.

 
Our team has worked for months organizing, compiling and creating the materials for the Boomwhacker section and we hope you find it really helpful when you start teaching notation to your students!!!


 
We love to know how you're using our materials!!!  Share how you've used the Boomwhacker section in the Musicplay Teachers group on Facebook!  If you don't do Facebook, share in the forum at Musicplayonline.  And of course, if you send us kids demos that we can use of your students using the Boomwhacker section - or any section of Musicplayonline, you'll receive a month free.
 

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