Music Makers for Jazz Appreciation Month


By Elizabeth Draper, Music Director, Cantata Learning

Be Kind to Your Web Footed FriendsCantata’s Be Kind To Your Web Footed Friends is a fun example of a familiar song influenced by early, Dixieland (now more commonly referred to as “trad jazz”) music. “Trad jazz” refers to music that originated in New Orleans during the beginning of the 20th century.

The percussion in this recording is being created on a washboard. Have your kids listen for the sound of the washboard. The washboard is an example of an instrument that belongs to the “percussion” family. What other household, or classroom items can be used to make sound/rhythm?

WashboardDiscuss the four (percussion, woodwind, strings, brass) instrument families with your class and familiarize the kids with examples from each “family.” It would be ideal to have an example from each, or at the very least a video example of an instrument from each family. Be Kind To Your Web Footed Friendsalso features the banjo (string family), tuba (brass family), and clarinet (woodwinds family).

Have your students make their own instruments with found objects. This can be great to do in the classroom or as an at home project. I recommend doing as an at home project because it allows the child more time and likely more expansive resources. It’s also a fun way to involve parents—trips to the hardware store, searching around the kitchen and garage, etc.

Let each child demonstrate and share their musical instrument invention with the class.

Have students discuss which instrument family their invention belongs. Inventing and making an instrument uses many different skills; science, creativity, simple mechanics, hand-eye coordination, visual, and sound exploration to name a few. Have each student give their instrument invention a name.

Read and sing Cantata’s Be Kind To Your Web Footed Friends once more with their instruments quietly to the side until page 22. When the song reaches page 22…have fun!

Elizabeth Draper has spent over half her life as a music educator and performer. She currently performs with the Grammy-Winning children’s group The Okee Dokee Brothers.