How to make percussion instruments with your child.

yf band pix1

Strike Up the Band!, p.1

Percussion instruments are perfect for introducing your child to music, according to Sara Wilford, director of the Early Childhood Center at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, NY. "They're easy to play, so even young kids can learn about rhythm and sound," she says. Boost your child's musical skills by having him tap out his favorite tunes or play along with recorded music.

Materials You'll Need:Two 8 1/2-oz. or 12-oz. nut canisters with lids; Dried beans; 9" x 12" sheets of felt in assorted colors; Pencil; Ruler; Paper; Straight pins or safety pins; Child-safe scissors and pinking shears; Glue; 12 large buttons; Needle and thread; String (2 mm thick); Six small round bells (available at craft stores); Cork; Pair of chopsticks; Poster paint; Foam brush; Screwdriver.Because of the small materials involved, parents should always supervise their child's craft projects. This project is not recommended for ages 3 and under.

yf band pix3

Strike Up the Band!, p.2

To Make A Drum1. Drop dried beans into a nut canister and replace lid. Position canister on its side flush against the long edge of a sheet of felt; mark its height on felt. Move canister to the other end, mark height again, then draw a line across felt with a pencil and ruler. Cut along the line. Glue felt to sides of can, forming a neat seam.

2. For top and bottom, create a paper pattern by tracing around the shape of the canister. Make scalloped edge by marking several points 1" outside the circle and drawing a larger circle around it, using the points as your guide. Make six points around outer circle, about 3" apart, and draw a scalloped line with peaks at these points. Pin the pattern to felt and cut out; repeat.

3. Sew buttons onto felt pieces at each scallop. Glue felt to bottom and top, aligning buttons above and below.

4. Cut 4 1/2 feet of string and knot one end around a top button. Stretch string diagonally toward next bottom button, wrap string around it, then keep crisscrossing until you reach the knotted end; knot again. Repeat, starting at a bottom button.

5. For drumsticks, cut two chopsticks to 5 1/2". Dig 1/4" holes into ends of two pieces of cork with a screwdriver. Let your child paint cork and sticks with poster paint. Squeeze glue into holes and insert sticks.

Strike Up the Band!, p.3

To Make A Tambourine1. Place a nut canister lid on a piece of felt, trace, and cut it out. Repeat to get two more pieces. Trim one until it fits inside the lid, and glue in place. Apply glue to the other felt pieces and attach them to the top and bottom of the lid.

2. Using a ruler and pencil, draw a line along the diagonal of another sheet of felt. Draw two more lines 1/2" away along both sides of this line. Cut along the outer lines, using pinking shears, if desired. Trim 1/2" from ends to make them straight.

3. Sew bells along this strip at equal distances apart, then glue it around the lid, holding until dry. Decorate as desired.Learn about the Dalcroze approach to teaching kids music and find workshops in your area at

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Copyright © 2001. Reprinted with permission from the March 2001 issue of Child magazine.