Thursday, March 28, 2013

Caution! Elementary Music Centers Under Construction - Part 4

Playing the Pipes!
This center just works. I am here to tell you that you can put this center in front of children within the ages of 5 and 11 and they can stay busy creating music, improvising, creating patterns and learning how instruments work for the entire class time.  This has been the BEST center and the experience that my students have had while at this center has informed their work as they moved around from station to station.  I believe that it is successful because it allows students to be truly and entirely creative.  Their interaction with the pipes is entirely open ended and because the pipes are low pitched, they have a pleasing sound no matter how hard they are played.  Students of all ages discover the variety of ways that they can be played and even practice vocal exploration.  Since this particular series of centers have all been focused on music composition, I provided paper for the students to carry and keep track of any notation they wanted to remember.  Sometimes at this center students would notate rhythms, sometimes they would notate pitch and sometimes they provided elaborate scientific drawings that were labeled with descriptions of how adding a length of pipe would change the sound.  I intend to add more pipe, and find ways to incorporate this one often.  - I love that although it would make an obviously brilliant instrument center, it functions really well during composition stations. 

Set up: I bought the flip flops on clearance at an end of season sale at Hobby Lobby almost two summers ago.  They sat in my closet waiting for some pipe to play.  Over spring break, I found my way to Home Depot which I might have been to twice in my life and purchased some 2 inch plumbing.  IF you can find some pipe elbows and other pieces that are missing some of the "twisty - tightening" pieces, then you can get them at a discount. ..... I took mine to the register not even realizing I had selected pipes that were missing hardware.... good thing the clerk knew her plumbing..... I got a discount!
2-3 years ago during the summer I decided to type in "music centers" into the search on YouTube.   I discovered a variety of videos that have been created by Mark E. Turner.  At that time I found a video about centers that he had posted that contained a big box of PVC pipes and some flip flops.  I'm not sure if I've uncovered the video that originally intrigued me, but I have discovered his channel of videos and he has a TON of great ideas and solid thinking about children and music and how to teach them.  It's so much to take in that you could spend a good while exploring and watching the almost 200 videos he has posted!  Since I got the idea of using PVC pipe and flip flops from him I wanted to be sure and share his videos so that he can get credit for his great work.  Check out his YouTube channel, LOTS to learn and LOTS to think about! Thanks Mark for sharing your insights and practice on YouTube where we can find your work!

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