Rhythm Instruments

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Revision as of 21:28, 7 December 2013 by Jana Zvibleman (Talk | contribs)

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Fun, creativity, collaboration

Group Size


A variety of small percussion and rhythm instruments, e.g.,tamborines, drums, bells, whistles, claves (sticks), shakers, maracas, kazoos. . .

If you don't have "real" instruments, or if the group wants to be more creative:

  • drums can be made with sticks, cans, bottles, pots, boxes
  • cans or boxes filled with rocks, grains, beads, coins, sand, or seeds, and closed securely, become shakers
  • Key rings can be shakers
  • don't forget clapping!
  • "hambone" is tapping on cheeks, chest, anyplace on the body for sounds - with cupped or flat hands for different effects

Set Up

This activity can be led by a musician with a guitar or other instrument, a singer, or anyone. Encourage people to think of PLAYING music - not to be intimidated by whether or not they have musical skills or talents.


Invite people to play along with the free-form rhythm or a familiar song or tune begun by the leader. Encoureage people to switch and trade instruments as they please. The leader can sometimes indicate a period for one person, a smaller group of people, or those with one type of instrument to play - e.g., only bells now; only the men.


Discuss the experience. Prompts can include: Did you listen to each other? How would you do it differently if you were the band leader? Are there lessons about collaboration?


The whole group making the instruments listed in the "materials" section above can become a separate activity, or the lead-up for activity. Supply materials and/or have people bring stuff from home.

Can you help make this activity better? Do you know an alternate way to lead this activity? Click "edit" above and help improve this site for everyone!