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Kid’s Percussion Band Workshop

Come and make music!

This is a fun and interactive program suitable for all kids age 5 and above, with or without music background. Percussion playing is the simplest form of musical creativity. Come as you are. We will provide a percussion instrument for you to perform on.

What is fun about this program?
  1. Making music through playing percussion.
  2. Experience and enjoy performing music with other kids.
Why is this activity good for you?
  1. Helps to build and develop good rhythmic sense.
  2. Using the left and right brain together to make music.
  3. Improve motor-skill coordination.
Here is a little project you can do that can help Mother Earth. You are going to make a percussion instrument using recycled containers. You can use your homemade percussion at our percussion workshops, or on your own by creating rhythms to play. We shall talk more about this at another time. Now, let's get started with some ideas for this project.

Any type and size of container that can be hand-held is ideal. Below are some examples of containers that you can recycle for this project.

Two items above that many of you may not recognize are the black and white containers in the front. They are film containers that are difficult to find these days in the digital age.

To fill these containers, you can use some food items like shown below.

Or, you can use a combination of the above items. Below is a mix of all the above ingredients and some barley.

All these food items create a different sound. The construction of the container also contributes to the overall sound. You can explore and experiment by creating a mix of those items in different containers. Do remember to clean and dry the containers well before filling them with the above food items.

Any kind of carton box can also be used. Here are some examples.

The above is a cereal box filled with recycled aluminum foil rolled into balls and in small sheets.

Above is a soup carton filled with crumpled paper balls. The paper balls are recycled from two sheets of A4 paper.

So, get creative and make your own percussion instrument. Also, be sure to use recycled items. You are helping to lessen pollution and improve the environment.


Rhythmic Activity for the Whole Family

Let's get the family involved and make music at home.

Ask your parents, brothers and sisters to be part of your music ensemble group. You will need a minimum of 2 persons, yourself and another person.

You will need a song to perform to, which makes it much more enjoyable.

We are going to use the 'Good Morning' from the Piano Lesson Made Easy Level 1 book for this activity.

There are two simple rhythm patterns below. These rhythms were created using the Card Games Made Easy. Practice rhythm pattern #1 first.

Count 2 bars to set a steady tempo and play the rhythm together continuously for at least 8 bars, or more. Use your metronome to help with tempo. Set the metronome at a comfortable tempo that suits everyone. Also try out rhythm pattern #2 in the same manner.

Both of you can each play a different rhythm together too. This will make it more interesting and challenging. If you have a big family, divide everyone into two groups and each group will play a different rhythm pattern.

Finally, perform the song with your ensemble using the rhythm patterns below.

Try out the above two simple rhythms first. Then, create your own one-bar rhythm or try out the different rhythm patterns below.

Printable page instructions:
For Mozilla Firefox Web browser
1. Click on the image
2. Select Print Preview from the File menu
3. Click Page Setup
4. In the Format Orientation: click Portrait
5. In the Format Scale: click Shrink To Fit Page Width
6. In the Margins: set Top, Bottom, Left and Right to zero (0)
7. Click OK
8. Click Print, click OK


To perform music well, one must have a steady pulse and good rhythmic sense/feel. The student can acquire this through frequent rhythmic exercises during lessons right from the beginning.

All beginner students have to do written theory work to be able to read and write music. One of the standard theory exercises is to fill in counts to the various types of notes.

Let’s take a few sample pages (see below) from the Theory Made Easy for Little Children Level 2 and My First Theory Book where the student is required to fill in the counts to these note types.
After writing in the counts to the exercises above, the student has to ‘realize’ the rhythm either by: clapping, tapping or playing a percussion instrument to the rhythm. Use your homemade percussion instrument to play the rhythm instead.


Why use percussion instruments?
light to carry, easy to use
only one way of playing the instrument, either shake it or hit it!

How will this help you in music?
develop good rhythmic sense
motor skill coordination

Intrinsic benefits?
peer learning
group integration
building leadership qualities

Start by counting two bars to set a steady tempo and try to play the rhythm using a percussion instrument. This is putting theory into practice and making the theory-practical connection in learning music.

On this page below, the exercise requires the student to fill in bar lines. Once the bar lines are written in the correct places, fill in the counts to the notes and play the rhythm using a percussion instrument. The more the student practices, the better he/she will be.

The rhythm patterns below allows you to form a group of four persons or more to perform together. Everyone chooses one pattern each and you lead them in a practice together. Then, perform the rhythm patterns to the Good Morning song. You can do this performance many times with everyone choosing a different rhythm pattern each time.

The above 4-part rhythm is created using the Card Games Made Easy, and is to be performed to the song “Good Morning” (Piano Lesson Made Easy Level 1).

I would encourage you to sing the lyrics to the instrumental recording (Click here for MP3 audio of the Good Morning song). If this activity is carried out in the afternoon or evening, use this alternate set of lyrics instead.

How are you?
How are you?
How are you my little friend?

How are you?
How are you?
I hope you are fine.

Very, very, very fine.
Happy, happy all the time.

How are you?
How are you?
I hope you are fine.

Here is a clip of the students performing during their Teachers Day celebrations at the school.

Taken from Rhythm MP's CSR music outreach program

Discovering and Exploring Music

Music lessons comprise classical and light classics that I had to learn and play all the time besides the usual rudiments of theory that I also had to study. My exploration of pop and other genres of music were at home on my own.

My dad was the driving force behind this as he was frequently bringing home music sheets from a popular music retail shop near his work place downtown. He was most gracious to bring me all sorts of music and never did he insist that I must like the music he brought home. All he would say is to try out the piece and decide if I like it. It was an encouraging way of bringing more music into my life and for that, I am most appreciative of my dad.

I never knew my dad moonlights as a musician and performed with the Roy Hits combo band until he showed me a photo of him as a guitarist with the band. What brought that about was when I wanted an acoustic guitar to expand on my musical experiences. Mom went with me to a music shop to buy the guitar and I was in the midst of setting up the guitar when dad arrived home from work to see me struggling with the tuning. He asked for the guitar, tuned it up and strummed some chords much to my total surprise. So, when I asked how he was able to do that when I have never seen him play any musical instrument, the story of his musical past came out.

Mom was a secondary school teacher who taught me some singing and dancing. Singing made me aware of pitch while the dance steps helped me with rhythm and musical pulse. My grandma, on the other hand, would occasionally play the accordion when she is in the mood while my brother and I listened attentively. I would attribute all these musical experiences at home that developed my interest in music.

Sitting correctly at the piano.

Sitting correctly at the piano will make you feel comfortable during practices and when performing. Many times, it is bad posture that affects your practice or performance. So, here are some pointers that can help you attain a comfortable posture at the piano.

Proper posture means to sit upright and do not hunch your back.

Curve both your fingers on the piano keyboard.

From the back, the shoulders and arms look relaxed.

CAUTION: The photos below show postures that you must avoid.

Avoid sitting too far away from the piano with your arms stretched out.

Avoid sitting too near the piano with your elbows tucked backwards.

Avoid sitting with your feet crossed over each other. Keep both feet flat on the ground.

For students who are petite, a stool to support the legs is necessary to maintain balance.

Remember, good posture facilitates good performance.
Good performance means good music.

Getting To Know Music

The enjoyment in music is not merely through listening but through knowing how to play music. There I was, like a kid with a new toy, trying to play the piano. All it meant for me at that time was fun and enjoyment. That’s what music is about!

I was listening to all sorts of music, from Bach to the Beatles. The radio was the main source of music entertainment back then and it is still free like today. Radio gave us a lot of pop music and some of my favorite radio shows then were those on Sunday mornings. Other than that, vinyl records are the only other media but it is expensive even then. So only priced performances and recordings are selectively bought.

I do not know if classical works were aired on the radio then, as I never came across any. Besides, I am not one to surf channels looking for music. I either stick to one or a few channels only.

But listening was good for me as I began to connect the sounds I hear to what I am learning on the piano. I began by remembering the melody of a song and finding the notes on the piano to play it back. It was also the only way to learn new songs, as song sheets or song books containing the latest music is not readily available.

I was very young and did not realize that I was putting myself through some ear training by doing that. It was just a necessity at that time to do what I did.

The Very Early Years

I was 8 years old when my grandmother asked if I wanted a piano for my birthday. Wow, my own piano! Typical of kids at that age, I was interested in everything and eagerly said yes. So, my dad drove the entire family down town to go hunt for a piano. Once the piano was secured, a piano teacher was found for me and music lessons began.

I was all excited about learning how to make music. I looked forward to my music lesson each week. Though I was learning music formally, the language of music and learning how to play an instrument is not easy. There is much to do to play a simple piece of music well. We have to have steady tempo, controlled finger pressure on the piano keys, good rhythm, proper phrasings, etc. It means that our musical mind has to work to bring all these together for the piece to sound decent. In my mind, there was a lot to do to play a song correctly.

While I was learning music, I was also listening to a lot of music. Listening to music is where it has helped me most at that age. There has always been a lot of music around the house and in the family car. My parents love music and they listen to music quite a lot. Every time we have to head out in the car, either my dad or I would select an 8-track cartridge cassette to listen to in the car. 8-track cartridge? What’s that you ask? Well, it was the most popular media at that time where music is recorded on a quarter inch tape housed inside a chunky plastic cartridge. It is really archaic compared to the small MP3 players that can store hundreds of songs these days.