Combining outdoors and music, the Butterflies class and I made sound lines to make music outside. Taking tambourines and bells, we worked together to tie them onto rope. Students were helpful in putting the rope through the instrument and tying a knot. We had two ropes of different lengths and tied more instruments to one rope than the other. Then we went outside to tie them to the posts. And we were ready to play!
It was neat to see how students interacted with the sound lines, playing them in different ways: hitting and shaking either one instrument or the whole line. They even banged the instruments by throwing the line to see what would happen. One bell was not tied on the sound line and students enjoyed moving it up to the top of the line to release and watching it slide down the line. The students explored sounds in a variety of ways and were full of laughs and giggles as they watched and listened to the music they were making. For a couple of students, they played the instruments and sound lines in every aspect they knew how: bang, shake, hit, or throw while a couple of students watched first and then participated. They inspired their friends in how to play the instruments in a different way. Students were learning from each other.
One teacher brought out wooden bowls and we played them as drums against the posts, on the ground, and with the sound line. Students started shoveling rocks in them and wanted to turn them into shakers. So we did! We taped two bowls together to make one big shaker and taped construction paper over one bowl to make smaller shakers. The students loved shaking them and listening closely to the rocks inside. They worked on sharing the shakers as well as taking turns on the sound lines. This activity had students spontaneously using language such as “My turn.” “Can you share?” “I want to play.” “Wow, listen to this!” “I did it!” “I play the music.” “Stop, it’s my turn.” “Can you help me?”
The whole sound lines experience was kid driven, and we focused on what the students were interested in: what they want to see, hear, and do. They felt a sense of ownership of the instruments we made. We spent 30 minutes outside, playing and making percussive sounds and they were motivated the whole time through the experience to explore sounds. Through it, we worked on fine motor skills of tying instruments, gross motor skills of playing with the whole body on the sound lines, both musical and non-musical creativity, turn taking with the instruments, working listening skills, understanding cause and effect, receiving sensory input, and exploring sounds. It was a sound fun time!