Instrument of the Week 4

Instrument of the Week 4 was the xylophone.

I wanted to play the children a high quality video of a xylophone by Evelyn Glennie but I could not find any that were of a good enough quality so I decided to show them the following video of three percussionists playing music from the computer game “Legend of Zelda” on a marimba.  This was a good idea as it also has a few other instruments from the percussion family.  One of the best bits is where it features a glockenspiel and I was able to explain the difference between a glockenspiel and a xylophone.  There is an awful amount of learning and musical terms in this video.  The tempo changes, the texture changes, there is an ostinato on the glockenspiel.  There are a mixture of tuned and untuned percussion instruments such as timpani, a snare drum, a marimba and a glockenspiel.  I also told them to look out for the triangle which only appears at the very end.  It is over 4 minutes long but the children listened enraptured without any talking or fidgeting.

Afterwards, I introduced the children to the percussionist Evelyn Glennie and used the words “deaf” and “blind” that 90 percent of the Y1 and 2 children had never heard of (90% are EAL).  I introduced “blind”, as at a later date I am going to introduce the children to my favourite musician Stevie Wonder.  I think it is important for children to learn about living expert performers and composers.

The most confusing part of the IOTW was that the instrument was the xylophone but the video was of a marimba.  I did explain the differences between these instruments briefly but thought the children would remember the word xylophone a lot more clearly as it is one of the only words that young children learn that begins with an “x”.  I normally spend only about 4 minutes in total on IOTW but this one was a bit longer.  In total, I spent about 7 minutes on this starter.

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