Nancy Hian
Grade Level: 1-3 grades
Approximate Time: 1-1 1/2 hours

Musical Rhythm Instruments

Topic: Visual arts and Music lesson including individually constructing and decorating musical instruments using creative expression in the way of color, lines, shapes and sounds.

Creative Expression: Each student will design a unique instrument using containers, beans, markers, crayons and colored construction paper. At the end of the lesson each student will have a working rhythm instrument decorated with at least two colors.

Rationale: This lesson provides students with a better understanding of rhythm instruments and their relationship to music. It also provides an understanding of the importance of color and shape in creative expression.

Strategy: A combination of direct instruction and guided discovery.

Rhythm- the combination of long and short, even and uneven sounds that convey a sense of movement.
Beat- a rhythmic stress, as in meter or verse.
Line- a point moving in space. It can vary in width, length and direction.
Color- the visual sensation dependent on the reflection or absorption of light from a given surface. The three attributes include hue, intensity and value.

Introduction: First ask the students: What is a rhythm instrument? What are some examples of rhythm instruments? After a brief discussion, show the students different rhythm instruments that have been brought in to share. The students will then be introduced to the different materials that they will have to work with (cans, containers, beans, rice, etc.) Important points such as color and line will be discussed in reference to the decorating of the instruments. The expectation for end results of the lesson is that all students are to have a completed working rhythm instrument by the end of the period.

1. Have all students bring in a container with a lid. Coffee cans, plastic containers and iced tea containers work well. Have extras on hand for any student that forgets to come prepared.
2. Students will place some of the gravel, sand, beans or combination thereof into their containers.
3. The containers are then sealed with a glue gun to ensure that nothing falls out while being played.
4. Have students cut a piece of construction paper to the size of their container.
5. Students then decorate the paper using crayons or markers.
6. Glue the paper to the container using either a glue stick or glue gun.
7. Decorate the instruments with various trimmings, fringe, shells, beads, colored paper or any other materials they choose to use.
8. If students finish early, they may draw quietly or listen to music at the listening station.
9. When dry, put on a tape or CD and have the students play their instruments to the beat either using their hand or a dowel stick. Varying types of music may be played to introduce students to the rhythms and beats used in different types of music.

Closure: Lead a class discussion on what the students noticed about the beat and rhythms of differing types of music. Did they play faster? Slower? Even? Uneven? Long? Short? Have the students critically analyze why they think one type of music differs so much from the next. Have students break up into groups of three or four and discuss the use of line and color in the decorating of their instrument. Did they make a pattern? What colors did they use? Did they use lines? Have each group discuss the importance of music in our culture and share with the class.

Clean up: Assign students to have different duties. Have one student collect all of the pens, pencils and crayons and return them to the art center. Have another student collect the scissors and glue sticks and return them to the art area, and yet another student collect the glue gun and return to the teacher. Have all students throw away scraps of paper and other trash as well as put all the assorted trimmings (beans, rice, fringe etc.) in separate plastic bags in the middle of their tables. Then assign a student to collect all of the plastic bags and return them to the art center. Have all of the students put their drums and dowels away in their cubbies or backpacks to ensure that they are not played with at inappropriate times.

Evaluation: Evaluation will occur during the part of the lesson where the students are playing their instruments along with the music. The teacher will check that each student has a working instrument that produces sound when hit by hand or with a dowel. The teacher will check to see that each student has used at least two colors in the decorating of their instrument. The students will also be evaluated in their small group discussion of beat and rhythm. Students discussions should include understanding of sound, movement and rhythmic stresses.

~ plastic, metal, cardboard iced tea containers, coffee cans, or plastic containers (anything that has a lid id fine). For coffee cans, remove the bottom metal piece and replace with a plastic lid.
~ glue gun
~ large and small beans, rice, sand or gravel to put in the cans (or anything else that would make a nice sound).
~ construction paper
~ markers
~ crayons
~ scissors
~ pencils
~ glue sticks
~ assorted trimmings, string, beads, fringe, small shells etc.
~ cut dowel sticks (prepare these ahead of time)

Adapted from:
Art Projects by Barbara Sonek at www.bway.netprojects.htm