media picture 2My only complaint about boomwhackers is that they weren’t around when I was a child. I’m so glad that I get to “play” them with my students.

I have used them with children as young as four. Parents and grandparents love to “help” if we need extra hands. Those that can’t read music can still participate if you use color coded music. There are many songs that can be purchased or chose some music that you like and make up your own charts.

I have drawn colored squares on poster board for familiar songs and will point to the squares at the correct time. Even my youngest students can follow along. Boom-whackers cannot sustain a note, so I draw grey squares to indicate the extra beats. Good songs to try for beginners are Twinkle Little Star, and Ode to Joy. For Christmas Songs try Jingle Bells, and Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.

Once the students are comfortable following the charts, I then use the computer to create sheet music with different colored squares to match the boomwhackers. Newer students find this easier than following notated music. If they are comfortable reading music then I use felt pens to add colored circles around the notes each student is to play. This helps them to follow along quickly. If all the students aren’t at a practice session I just use the computer to play the music so we can hear all the notes and then just play our boomwhackers in time. The program that I use, (Finale) also has a metronome setting, so we can start up slow and then increase our speed as skill levels improve.

Making up the song posters and sheet music is labor intensive; however the music can be used in subsequent years with different students and for those on a limited budget this is certainly a doable option.

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