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Customer Quotes

“Great products...one of the best curriculum's out there, great help for teaching our video class" -Christine R., Principal, Trinity Lutheran School, Kalispell, MT

"Screenwriting was awesome, our kids really loved these activities. It was also really nice to provide such a creative curriculum that addresses the standards in such a fun way." - Heather S., Director, After School, City of Fairfield, CA

“Having taught at the high school and college level, I was impressed with this curriculum. The materials and guidance were well put together and very thoughtful." - Michael L., Artist, Shea After School, Syracuse, NY

“This amazing program has enabled my students to comprehend the process of forensic science as well as the sophisticated vocabulary encompassed in the program's lessons.” - Erica T., Freehold Public Schools, Freehold, NJ

“This is a well organized course that I would highly recommend to other programs.” - Chad S., Teacher, School #18, Buffalo, NY

“The program is awesome! I’m doing it as part of an after school enrichment time. Our kids really enjoy the projects and it’s wonderful to use as everything is provided.” - Karen S.,Teacher, Olympic Middle School, WA

“This is the perfect kind of activity for afterschool. It’s fun; students learn by getting involved. Everybody wants to be a part of it!” - Kim L., Program Leader, Child and Adolescent Treatment Services, Buffalo NY

“They love it…it’s awesome. Kids are dying to get in it!” - Audrey A., Teacher, Clifford Marshall Elementary School, Quincy, MA

“The Missing Money Mystery was very easy to follow. The children had such a great time at it, we even allowed our group to re-enact the entire mystery. This mystery was fantastic, and we are looking forward to our next exercise!” - Jackie. J., Director/Detective, Hempstead P.A.L., Hempstead, NY

“The students were engaged and enjoyed the experiments. The story keeps the activities meaningful and provided an interested way to connect Florida Standards. The teacher’s manual was easy to follow and materials in the kits made it very convenient for set up. Overall, this is a great thing to do in afterschool and during the summer!” - Betty C., Teacher, Genesis Center, Leesburg FL

“Playing with Percussion offers an exciting doorway to exploring percussion, communication skills and learning about different cultures." - Sheila K., Site Leader, Accord Corp, Youth Services Division, Belfast NY

"Our kids enjoyed making their own instruments, especially sanding. Playing all those grooves at the end was a lot of fun!" - Nina P., Music teacher, Napa, CA

“The Cookie Jar Mystery was such a big hit at the middle school…which has been tough.”
-Charlie E., Teacher, Lexington County Schools, SC

"The Cookie Jar Mystery went really well, the kids talked about it for weeks.  They were very excited and intrigued with the hands-on activities and I really enjoyed teaching it!"
-Brook T.,Teacher, Lincoln Middle Schools, TN

  • Step-by-step Instructor's Guide complete with supply list, lesson extensions and rhythm charts.

Playing with Percussion: Making and Playing Instruments Course Kit for Grades 3-5

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Product Description

Students will take a journey around the world and learn about the origin, rhythms and history of percussion instruments. Your students will benefit from this fascinating, fun and in-depth learning experience throughout this 15 lesson exploration into the world of percussion!

Activities lead students to make five different “found object” instruments that are theirs to keep. Students will understand history and music instruction in a truly hands-on fashion. Learners begin by launching an investigation into the two families of percussion instruments and the elements of percussion sound. Next, students will take off on a tour of rhythms around the world by studying the origin of instruments and the cultures from which they emerged. Young musicians will develop skills and techniques needed to play their handmade instruments with methods such as the call and respond and rhythm development.

Children may also be inspired to explain the cultural story of an instrument that reflects their own heritage. They will be excited to demonstrate newly acquired percussion techniques and perform in an ensemble. The performance will end with a meet and greet session for the performers, families and friends.

The Instructor’s Guide highlights each lesson, detailing examples of the instrument construction, playing techniques and a rich vocabulary list complete with pronunciations. Your classroom kit comes with everthing you need, including a step-by-step Instructor's Guide, complete supply list, Instructional DVD with all playing techniques, examples of each instrument you're students will build and a Resource CD that includes all student handouts.  

This truly "hands-on" program introduces students, over 15 units, to the world of music and percussion through the study of cultures, instrument construction and playing techniques. The activities are interesting and the sounds are different every time! Students in grades 3-5 can’t wait to make music in this engaging, activity-filled study of percussion. The Instructor’s Guide highlights each lesson, detailing examples of the instrument construction, playing techniques and a rich vocabulary list complete with pronunciations. All playing techniques that correspond to each lesson can be found on our YouTube page.

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Course Outline and Lesson Descriptions

Drum roll, please! Did you know a kazoo is a percussion instrument? Learn all about the many types of musical instruments in this introduction to percussion, guaranteed to spark kids imagination and get them excited! Students explore rhythm from human hand clapping to the recent explosion of percussion-inspired innovations such as rapping on paint drums and stomping. This fascinating journey illustrates how unique percussion instruments are among all other musical instruments.

Lesson 1: What is Percussion? Classifying Musical Instruments

I've Got Rhythm! Lessons 2-7 immerse students into the international world of percussion with hands-on experience in shaping and constructing their own percussion instruments with their own unique sounds. Percussion master Brian Melick on DVD leads students through an international discography (music samples are provided); while students tap, rattle, shake and thump their way through percussion boot camp. It's joyful noise!

Lesson 2: The Brazilian Bossa Nova and the Ganza Making Canister Shakers

Lesson 3: The Brazilian Samba and the Pandeiro Making a Paper Plate Shaker

Lesson 4: The Brazilian Reco-reco and the Cuban Guiro Making a Scraper

Lesson 5: The Moroccan Bendir, the Egyptian Deff and the Belly Dance Making a Plastic Plate Drum

Lesson 6: Drumming Rudiments Making Mallets

Lesson 7: The Cuban Clave Rhythm and the Claves Making Clapping/Sandpaper Blocks

Putting theory into practice with instruments in hand, it's time to rock the house! Beginning with some classic musical favorites including rhythms from rock and roll, swing, waltz music and more, students move into some of the subtler dimensions of understanding music, music theory, and performance. Students experience first-hand how important teamwork and listening skills are in music as they use the legendary call and response technique to make music together!

Lesson 8: Waltz, Swing, Rock and Roll, R & B, and Reggae Music Styles Understanding Tension and Release in Music

Lesson 9: Shakers and Scraper Review Developing Playing and Listening Skills

Lesson 10: Blocks and Plastic Plate Drum Review Playing in Unison

On with the Show! Places, everyone! Now working as an ensemble, learners explore the challenge of mixing the voices of their instruments in the spirit of letting each performer shine. Lessons 11-14 emphasize reading PwPs unique musical notation, playing with precision, and practice, practice, practice!

Lesson 11: The Cuban Maracas and the Cha Cha Cha Rhythm Practice Performing Skills

Lesson 12: The Brazilian Agogo Bells, Carnival and the Samba Rhythm Practice Performing Skills

Lesson 13: Middle Eastern Music and the Belly Dance Rhythm Practice Performing Skills

Lesson 14: Performance Rehearsal Practice Playing and Speaking Roles The Grand Finale!

Get out your top hat and tails for the premiere production of the latest and greatest in homegrown music! In Lesson 15, learners showcase not only their newly acquired musical skills, but also the great self-confidence, control, and grace they've practiced in the preceding weeks. More than simply a concert gig, the ensemble show is a great opportunity for youngsters to demonstrate public speaking, cooperation, new knowledge, pride, and all the rewards of learning to play nicely with others. A bravura performance!

Lesson 15: Percussion Ensemble Performance Perform, Meet and Greet the Percussionists


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What's in this Course Kit?

This complete Course Kit contains an Instructor Guide, Course DVD, Resource CD with Student Books in PDF, all handouts and a complete supply list to easy equip your class.

Instructor’s Guide 

The Instructor’s Guide highlights each lesson, detailing examples of the instrument construction, playing techniques and a rich vocabulary list complete with pronunciations. All playing techniques that correspond to each lesson can be found on our YouTube page.  Every step is taken to provide an easy-to-follow format and informative, fun-to-read instructions for each lesson. In addition to a brief listing of objectives, materials, and set-up procedures, useful icons point the instructor to a number of key elements:

Notes for the Instructor: Brief instructor notes introduce the subject matter and challenges presented in the particular lesson. They often contain real-life, age-appropriate examples from crime in history or popular culture. 

Notes for the Students: These notes “set the stage” for each lesson by presenting brief material to read, listen to, and discuss.

Vocabulary: New and relevant terms are defined here. Note, too, the comprehensive “Glossary” at the end of the Instructor’s Guide and Student Books.

Activity Description: Here, step-by-step procedures are provided for both the instructor’s demonstration and the students’ immersion in the activity.

Wrap-up: Discussion-provoking questions and summary-type activities are designed to revisit the day’s learning and help students take their inquiry further.

Clean-up: Clear instruction on preserving and storing materials is provided to ensure kit longevity and cost effectiveness.

Other Destinations: To extend lessons and deepen understanding across disciplinary and cultural divides, relevant links to multimedia, web resources, and fun at-home or extension activities are provided here.

Student Books provided on Resource CD

Designed for students to follow rhythmes and for future reference, the Student Books serve as companions to the Instructor’s Guide and contain reports, charts, places to attach samples, and areas to record observations, as well as a full glossary of terms used in the course.



Product Videos

Lesson 2 Canister Shaker Technique (03:06)
  • Lesson 2 Canis...
  • Lesson 10 Revi...
  • Lesson 1 Intro...
    Brian Melick introduces your students to the wonderful world o...
  • A Visit from S...
    2009 LIVE Performance of our take on "A Visit from Saint Nicho...