Today's Music Mondays Series Post is one again written by our grammy nominated friend Daria! Continue reading to lean what a sheker is, how to make your own, and how to play some fun shekere games in your homeschool this week! ~~Katie
Making and playing simple musical instrument can be great fun for both children and adults. Think about it! When was the last time you really listened to the beat of a song, danced around to some new music or got your hands messy with a colorful craft? This week, we’re exploring a beautiful percussion instrument from Africa called the shekere and sharing some fun ways for your family to make your own versions and incorporate them into musical play at home. And we encourage the adults or older siblings to join in the fun as well!
What is A Shekere?
Although rattles are found all around the world, the shekere is a special type of rattle that is made from a dried gourd covered with netting. Attached to the netting are noise-makers such as beads, seeds or shells. Most historians think that the shekere was invented in West Africa but was so well loved that different versions appeared across the continent of Africa with their own variations in sizes, shapes and playing styles. Check out the sizes and different bead work on the shekeres pictured here! How do you play a shekere? It can be held and rattled, shimmied, shaken or tossed gently from hand-to-hand or from one person to another. It’s a truly versatile
Make Your Own Shekere
Since making an authentic shekere involves drying a gourd – a process that can take several months to a year, we wanted to share a simpler, recycled version of this craft. Start with a plastic jug from the recycling bin and instead of netting and noise-makers, “bead” by applying stickers, creating any type of pattern that you like. Using round stickers or different colored reinforcements creates the look of actual beads. To make your shekere sound like a rattle, add a small amount of any simple filler such as birdseed, pasta, dried lentils, pebbles or beads. Seal up the top with a sturdy tape and your percussion instrument will sound great when played in your hands or tossed as part of a game.
Kids or adults can get used to playing with a shekere by sitting in a circle and tossing it around from person to person. Each person can shake or rattle it while singing or while music is being played seeing if they can keep in time or play along with what they are hearing. Name That Color, Find the Letter or Number Game If you want to turn your new instrument into a learning game, you can try one of these ideas. Use round stickers of various colors as your “beads” and decorate some of them
with numbers or the letters from A to Z. When you’ve completed your design, cover the surface of your plastic jug with clear packing tape as it is easy for the stickers to rub off while the instrument is being tossed around and played. Here’s an example of what an alphabet shekere might look like. How does that turn into a game? Check it out!
Toss the shekere around and either play music and stop it (like in musical chairs) or sing a simple rhyme such as: Round and round and round it goes Where it stops, nobody knows Find the letter … ___! (Find the number___, Find the color ___). Shake and shake the shekere Here is what I have to say Find the letter … ___! (Find the number___, Find the color ___). The person holding the shekere must locate the number, letter or color requested. Here are some easy variations that can be used, depending on the group or skill level involved.
From A – Z The shekere is tossed around until the rhyme or the music stops. The person holding the instrument must find the letter the group or is seeking, from A to Z. The whole group or class wins when they’ve completed the alphabet.
The First Letter of My Name Children can find the first letter of their name and then move out of the circle. If the group or class finishes within a certain time frame, they win!
My Letter, My Call! A teacher or parents starts the game asking for a certain letter. When the player finds that letter, they get to chose the letter that will be found next. And so on.
Play Along With A Song from Africa You can play your shekere along with any type of music, but it will sound especially good with music from the continent of Africa. A while ago, I recorded a version of one of my favorite songs from South Africa. The lyrics are in Zulu and in English. The song is about a special day when the mothers from a village go to town to sell what they have grown. When they return, they are bringing special treats to share with their children. The song shares what the children are seeing as their mothers are coming home. You can see a video of that song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz4tUKoZUcA What other ways can you explore your new instrument? Can you come up with your own games or even write a new song to sing and play along with? When it comes to music, the possibilities for both fun and learning are endless!
Hear a shekere sample or shekere song here: http://www.dariamusic.com/shekere.php
Color a shekere online: http://www.dariamusic.com/color_Shekere.php
Check out 8 simple world music instruments – sounds, songs and coloring activities: http://www.dariamusic.com/cajon.php
20 easy world music crafts for kids: http://www.dariamusic.com/crafts.php
Award-winning children’s performer, DARIA (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has seven cd’s that have won national honors. She has the most awesome job of traveling the world to sing for kids and peace. Her website; located at dariamusic.com, was given a 2009 Parents Choice Award for its rich variety of music and cultural content.
To check out the music resource that Katie uses with her own kids at the Brighton park homeschool, check out Where is Thumbkin?: 500 Activities to Use with Songs You Already Know . A wonderful resource, divided by month that provides song lists, their lyrics and coordinating supplemental activities that span the curriculum.
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