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    “When a child learns by experience that music forges direct links between self and world, self-expression becomes more fluent; the music helps interpret ‘who I am’.” -"Growing up Complete”, the report of the National Commission on Music Education
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Homemade Instruments made from Pencils

What kind of instrument can you make with a pencil???  Well, my Kindermusik students and families sure surprised me with their creativity.

For Valentine’s Day, I handed a Valentine’s PENCIL to each student from 18 months old up to 7 years old.  They were challenged to make an instrument, of any sort, using this pencil (leaving it UNsharpened).  A few examples were demonstrated (my 4 year old daughter helped me make a few in advance), and most of the students left the classroom explaining their creative ideas in detail to their parents.  They were so excited to be given this project.

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As you can see in the slide show, during the next classes, such a variety of instruments arrived!  Students were able to demonstrate their instrument, and, sometimes with the help of parents, were able to describe how they made their instruments.  You’ll notice, some students chose NOT to use a pencil – that’s OK, too.   One student got SOOO excited about the project, he made an instrument for everyone in class.

We all enjoyed a rollicking play-along song from their Kindermusik CDs.  Then the students were asked to place their instrument in a category (each on a different carpet square) that identified HOW sounds were made on their instrument:

  • tap
  • shake
  • rub
  • twist

Everyone had a great time with this activity, and you can tell by their faces that they are truly proud of themselves, or the young ones are just totally enamored by their own isntrument.

This might be a fun activity to try in your own home.  Just start with a pencil.  Look at all the different types of instruments and sound makers that you have at home.  Talk about ways to make sounds, such as those percussion methods listed above.   Have the child help you gather and lay out different materials you have to choose from in your home.  Then sit back and relax, and observe your child as they enjoy the process of creating something truly their own.  Describe what they are doing, and ask open ended questions, like “What can you do with that?”  “How should we put it on the pencil?” 


2 Responses

  1. I am a doctor.

    My kids came up in bluegrass music. I told them it was like neurosurgery- if you mess up smile and don’t say oops.


  2. […] Children’s Music and Games for Valentines Day Valentine’s Pencils are an excellent alternative gift for this special holiday.  If your child got some, perhaps, instead of sharpening them, you might want to be creative, and make them into instruments.  Last year, my students enjoyed this challenge, and I posted a slide show of their creative works of art and music:  Homemade Instruments Made from Pencils. […]

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