Friday, February 8, 2013

Flannel Friday: Musical Instruments

Since late August, I have been sharing a letter of the day with each of my drop-in story time groups. As of Tuesday, I have made it all the way through the alphabet, and today I started over again. Over the weeks, I learned that some letters are trickier than others, and that sometimes you have to be a little bit inventive to have enough quality material to share. Today, I want to share one of the strategies I used in order to fill in some of the gaps.

When the letter V came up, I instantly thought of the word violin, but I couldn't find very many violin songs or rhymes that would work for story time. Therefore, I wrote my own, inspired in part by Lloyd Moss's Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin. I printed out five copies of a photo of a violin to use on the flannel board, and wrote the following accompanying text.

One violin plays a solo. Zin! 
Two violins play a duet. Zin! Zin! 
Three violins play a trio. Zin! Zin! Zin! 
Four violins play in a quartet. Zin! Zin! Zin! Zin! 
Five violins play in a quintet. Zin! Zin! Zin! Zin! Zin! 

As I placed the violins on the flannel board, I asked everyone to play a pretend violin and make the Zin! sounds with me.

I didn't really think about using this flannel board again until I did either a music theme or the letter V came up again, but then I found myself stumped again for letter X. Pirate Rex's Xs was one good idea, but I needed at least one more. So I thought about words that begin with X, and of course, one of them is xylophone. By changing two words in the text I wrote about the violin, I now had an instant xylophone flannel board.

One xylophone plays a solo. Plink!
Two xylophones play a duet. Plink! Plink!
Three xylophones play a trio. Plink! Plink! Plink!
Four xylophones play in a quartet. Plink! Plink! Plink! Plink!
Five xylophones play in a quintet. Plink! Plink! Plink! Plink! Plink! 
Basically any musical instrument will work with this same pattern, as long as you can come up with a reasonable sound for the instrument to make. Piano, keyboard, triangle, saxophone, and clarinet are just a few of the instruments that come to mind. I also  think it would be fun - especially with preschoolers or early elementary kids - to combine different instruments to make the duos, trios, quartets and quintets. Here's a possible example:

One violin plays a solo. Zin!
One violin and one drum play a duet. Zin! Blam!
One violin, one drum and one saxophone play a trio. Zin! Blam! Doodily doo! 
One violin, one drum, one saxophone and one triangle play a quartet. Zin! Blam! Doodily-doo! Ding! 
One violin, one drum, one saxophone, one triangle, and one trombone play a quintet. Zin! Blam! Doodily-doo! Ding! Baroom!

It would be neat to have a set of sounds and a set of instruments already established so the kids could put them in any order they wanted and change up the combination of sounds. I can also imagine the kids getting silly with different motions associated with each instrument. For little ones, I'd probably stop with a quintet, but there would also be no reason not to continue on with sextet, septet, octet, etc.

I plan to use this idea this April when I focus on a music theme during Jazz Appreciation Month. 

This week, Flannel Friday is hosted by Courtney at Miss Courtney Meets Bobo. For all things Flannel Friday, check out the official website.


  1. I love this idea! Thanks for sharing

  2. Fabulous ideas - thanks for all the variations.

  3. As a preschool teacher of over 20 years, I am always happy to find a fresh new book, song, idea, etc. I added a Letter of the Week to my curriculum about 5 years ago, so it is great to find activities to go with those hard to find letters. LOVE this!!!! Thanks so much for sharing. We're on letter O next week, so this will be fun to use. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Lake Elsinore

  4. I just thought of a song I've heard where each instrument makes a sound. Can't remember the name of it - but they sing it around the piano in the movie "You've Got Mail"

  5. Thanks for sharing. I have always had a hard time finding musical flannelboards. I also think you could pull in an app (Garage Band comes to mind) and make that instrument's noise as you put each on the board.


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