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Strike up the (kitchen) band!

Banging pots and pans drives home the basics of musical beat for youngsters.

By Paul Bakeman, consulting educator

Forget about the garage and check out the musical scene in your kitchen instead! With a few cooking supplies turned instruments, you can teach preschoolers and kindergartners to find the beat and hear the different sounds of percussion.

What you'll need

  • Items found in the kitchen made of metal and wood (spoons, a cutting board, skewers, pots and pans, etc.) and things that can serve as a drum, such as an empty oatmeal container or a plastic bowl
  • A small metal spoon to use as a mallet
  • Any recorded music that has a strong beat

How to do it

Help your child find kitchen supplies from each of the percussion groups: wood, metal, and plastic or cardboard (for the drum). You'll also need to find something to use as a mallet — a small metal spoon works well — for the instruments requiring one (like the pots and pans, plastic bowl, or cutting board).

Put on music with a strong, steady beat and play along, helping your child to find the rhythm. Switch instruments often to hear the various sounds, and experiment with how and where you strike the pots, pans, and bowls. Tap and scrape to find new sounds as you and your child march around the house in your own kitchen band parade.

Paul Bakeman is a music teacher in Virginia and a Teacher of the Year award winner.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

04/15/2009:
"Like the ideas here....but do you think you should suggest metal skewers as a tool for a kindergartener? Unfortunately, some parents don't have the sense to think about the potential dangers of that!!"
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