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Boomwhacker Compositions

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Keywords: Chrome Music Lab, boomwhackers, Song Maker
Subject(s): Technology, Music
Grades 6 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: St Rita School, Hamden, CT
Planned By: Polina Mann
Original Author: Polina Mann, Hamden
This lesson requires that students be familiar with playing boomwhackers, the plastic multi-colored tubes that have different note values depending on their color and size. Once students have had some experience playing, I introduce them to the Song Maker software which is a free software through Google. The notes in Song Maker are the same colors as the boomwhackers, which makes this the ideal software to compose for these instruments.

Here are the guidelines:
1) Compose a short melody in Chrome Music Lab Song Maker using only one octave. (I would show them how to change the ranges in Settings).
2) Use any notes you would like but please do not write repeated notes (several in a row) as it is hard to play this on the boomwhackers.
3) Make sure to lower the tempo from 120 to about 80 so that the speed is slow enough for everyone to follow along when they are playing your composition.
4) Think about your audience when you are writing, would it be good to have a short introduction before the piece starts playing so that students can have time to prepare their instruments?
5) Save your link and then copy and paste it into an email and send to your instructor.

Once everyone has submitted their pieces, we will take turns playing everyone's work. This lesson is also Covid-19 friendly because the students can compose individually on their devices and then take and keep one boomwhacker for the entire class so there is no sharing of instruments.

Have fun!
I would ask the students these questions after we had performed the pieces: What did you learn about composing for others? How is composing something to be played by other people different than simply composing for yourself? Is this similar to writing for a band or orchestra? If so, how?
I would have the students compose another piece, having taken the suggestions and critique from the previous pieces so that they can refine their original work to be more playable in case it is not the first time around.
Materials: Whiteboards, Hard Drives, Music
Other Items: 25 Chromebooks , $250 each, total of $6250.00
22 Boomwhackers , $99.99 all each