As regular readers know, I use music a lot in teaching English Language Learners. In addition to what I’ll share in this “The Best…” list, you can read about more ways in these other lists:
The Best Music Websites For Learning English
The Best Online Sites For Creating Music
The Best Online Karaoke Sites For English Language Learners
Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Music Sites
The Best Places To Get Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects
The Best Places To Find Lyrics On The Web
The primary purpose of this list is to share resources and ideas on having students make simple musical instruments in class. They’re great opportunities for students to listen to instructions, speak with other students to create musical compositions with the instruments they make, and write and discuss the steps they took to make them. You can also easily fit in a little science if you want. Plus, it’s always a lot of fun!
In addition to actual instrument-making, I also usually include watching some video clips from the delightful Stomp musical. Watching these clips prior to making instruments functions as a great introduction, and I incorporate speaking, listening, and writing practice by watching them using the “Back To The Screen” process (you can learn how to use that video-viewing process by reading The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL).
I’ll be including a few links on this list to Stomp clips.
As part of his lesson, I also have students bring in traditional instruments from their culture — even if they don’t play them. In addition to doing that, I can also now show images from the Musical Instrument Museum that just opened in Phoenix earlier this month. It has the largest collection of musical instruments in the world, and I’ll be sharing links to multimedia presentations from the museum.
Even with these additions, just to keep it simple I’m still calling this post The Best Sites For Ideas On Making Simple Musical Instruments:
MAKING MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS:
Though I’m sharing links to instrument-making sites (and, by the way, I’m only interested in instruments that can be built during part of a class period), I primarily use a book that I would strongly recommend you purchase.
In 1980, my extraordinarily talented mother-in-law, Marilyn Judson, co-wrote a neat book titled Simple Folk Instruments to Make and Play.
It’s filled with simple, step-by-step instructions to easily make musical instruments.
I’ve used it for lessons with English Language Learners. Making a musical instrument provides tons of language-development opportunities — both during and after the lessons. I figure music teachers might find it fun, too.
The book is long-out-of-print, but it’s available used on Amazon for peanuts.
No new wealth will accumulate to our family by your purchase since you can only buy it used, but I think it’s a good resource for teachers to have.
In addition to the book, here are a few good online resources:
MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM:
The World In Musical Instruments is a slideshow from The Wall Street Journal.
The Museum itself has a neat video.
An Arizona newspaper has another slideshow.
Museum of Musical Instruments is a New York Times slideshow.
The Art Is Instrumental is another Times slideshow.
Suggestions are welcome…
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You might also want to explore the 450 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.