- Pitch - Boomwhackers®, just like xylophones and pan pipes, give a physical and visual representation of pitch by showing the relationship of length to pitch. Boomwhackers® I have discovered to be an even better tool for teaching pitch than a xylophone because of the colors and how each student can be responsible for only one pitch.
- Harmony - Teaching chords can be tricky for young students; however, Boomwhackers® allow students to play chordal accompaniments to a variety of songs by having "color groups." The color groups once again give a visual representation of chords, allowing students to more easily grasp the aural difference in, for example, a C major chord and a G major chord.
- Blues - I love teaching the 12-bar blues and Boomwhackers® are the perfect instrument to allow an entire class to participate in playing the I, IV, and V7 chords of a simple blues progression. You could even extend it to have some students playing the progression, and have others improvising on recorders or xylophones on a blues scale.
- Composition - Have students write out a simple rhythm, color in each notehead with a Boomwhackers® color, and then play the melody (meeting National Standard #4!). This can be done in small groups or as a class activity. If you use a dry erase board or an interactive whiteboard, you can revise, edit, and evaluate easily (National Standards #6 and #7...wink, wink!)
- Solfege and Scales - After playing, you can relate the instrumental to the vocal using the solfege syllables and scale degrees. For many students, visualization is essential to singing pitch relationships correctly. Boomwhackers® provide a great link between the absolute pitch of an instrument and the relative pitch of a voice.
Since Boomwhackers® rely on colors, visual cues are not only beneficial but necessary. I have created a set of colored note-name flashcards. The flashcards include images of noteheads, chords/triads, and scale degrees. Each flashcard has a notehead with the pitch name, solfege step, and corresponding color. The chord/triad pages include C major, F major, and G major chords. The last page shows an image of all Boomwhackers lined up to show the relationship of size, pitch, and color - this page is particularly is a great teaching aid.
Download these flashcards, print in color, cut out (if desired), mount on construction paper individually or as a big poster, laminate, and instant pitch visual! Enjoy!