BANG THE DRUM–Spring has come!!!

Are you as excited as we are to welcome the Spring today?! Even though we had a very mild winter here in Ohio, we’re still ready for consistently warm temperatures and bright sunshine streaming in the Stanton’s front windows! A great activity to keep your students engaged through the end of the school year would be to start a drum circle, or incorporate more percussion into your regular music classes. The following resources would be great for upper elementary, middle school and even beginning high school hand drummers:

Picante: Salsa Music Styles for the Classroom & Beyond
Experience authentic music styles of the Afro-Spanish-Caribbean by Puerto Rican-born author & bi-lingual educator, Alejandro Jimenez. Connect with educational philosophies and cultural backgrounds of the Spanish Caribbean to understand how they influenced the music of that area. Learn how song, dance, rhythmic instruments and drama all come together to help build confidence and promote personal expression.

Originally developed and used in urban, multi-cultural settings here in the United States, the works featured in Picante are for all general music classes. Students form their own Latin Music ensembles and explore the highly rhythmic beat of the plena from Puerto Rico, the regueton which is popular among urban Latino youth, the fast two-step beat of the merengue from the Dominican Republic, the bomba from Puerto Rican folk music, and the son from Cuban dance music. These different styles influenced what we now call Salsa music.

The kid-friendly ensembles have been written for Grades 5-9 and are presented from easy to more difficult. A variety of short, easily-learned ostinato rhythm patterns are played on Latin percussion and Orff instruments and added one at a time, followed by voice parts with the Spanish and English lyrics to create easily-sung harmonies in an instant!  A helpful teaching sequence, dance steps and objectives linked to the National Standards are provided for each song, and all ensemble parts are reproducible.

World Grooves: Elemental Rhythms From Around the Globe
Capture the spirit of calypso, zydeco, bossa nova, gospel, jigs, jazz and more with this unique collection of global rhythm styles by Tom Anderson. Each ensemble includes 3 to 4 rhythm parts for classroom percussion instruments, and one part is always the pulse, so even your youngest students can join in! There are also body percussion parts to help learn the rhythms before the instruments are distributed, and when there aren’t enough instruments to go around. Optional Orff instrument parts and piano are also included for additional layers of tone color!

The enclosed CD offers two recorded tracks for each groove: an instructional track and a play-along track without the percussion instruments for the flexibility of adding any number of performers. PDFs of all the parts are also included on the Enhanced CD.

All parts are 4 to 8 measures, and once they are secure, the parts can be layered in one-at-a-time, in different orders–you decide! Then add your new world groove accompaniments to different songs in these styles from your music library. Music grooves include: Calypso, South African, Hora, Gospel, Irish Jig, Zydeco, Rock and Roll, Bossa Nova, American Jazz, Irish Reel, and there is even an overall theme song called “The Beat of the World” for your students to experience. Let the spirit groove you! Suggested for grades 3-6.

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Categories: Classroom General Music, Folk Music, Staff Picks

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