Children’s Orchestra

Make music together on instruments that the children created.

Materials

  • audio recorder
  • camera
  • a stick (pointer or chopstick) to serve as a conductor’s baton
  • instruments children have made themselves: kazoo, drum, rubber band guitar, or maracas. You can also set up the musical glasses you played earlier in the Explore and Play activity, and have one or two children play them.

Key Science Concepts

  • Different objects make different sounds.
  • Sounds vary in volume (loud or soft), pitch (high or low), and rhythm (fast or slow).
  • A sound becomes louder when the force of the action that is creating the sound is increased (for example, when you hit a drum harder). A sound becomes softer, or quieter, when the force is decreased.

Vocabulary

Use descriptive words such as fast, slow, loud, soft, quiet, as well as words that convey feelings about the music, such as excited, sleepy, happy, sad, soothing, wild, happy.

Directions

Tell children that together they are going to perform a concert using the instruments they made themselves.

  1. Review the instruments shown in your “Instruments” chart that children made themselves. Then have each child choose one of their instruments to play in the Children’ Orchestra. Explain that an orchestra is a group of musicians playing different instruments together. Children may want to choose a drum, a shaker or maracas, a rubber band guitar, or a kazoo . . . or they may have invented their own unique instrument that they’d like to play! Someone may also want to play the musical glasses (though this may require supervision).
  2. After playing together once, invite each child to be the conductor. Explain that a conductor leads the orchestra, telling the musicians how to play. The music could be loud, soft, slow, fast, gentle, or with a strong rhythm—it’s up to the conductor. Demonstrate how a conductor’s baton is used, explaining that it is waved back and forth to indicate the rhythm and how the music should be played. Have each child come up and conduct the band for about 30 seconds, then switch. Record some of the sounds.
  3. For the grand finale, put on some music and have the entire orchestra play along. 

Reflect and Share

Play the recordings and ask children if they can identify the different instruments. Ask, Can we hear some kazoos? What about maracas? How about drums? Musical glasses? Then ask them if they can tell what the conductor had asked the orchestra to play. Can they tell whether the music is fast or slow, soft or loud?