May 8, 2012

Boomwhackers® Flashcards

Boomwhackers Scale Degrees
Do you love using your Boomwhackers® as much as I love mine?  I finally, after 7 years of teaching music, bought 4 sets of Boomwhackers® and they have been the best, "funnest" addition to my classroom in recent years.  My students and I use Boomwhackers® for a plethora of music learning activities...
  • 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!


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