In many primary schools music is a neglected area of the curriculum, often because specialist teachers are hard to find. But there are ways in which any primary teacher can introduce the children to the joys of music making
Carousel Primary Music is a self-contained programme for the whole primary school which claims that it can enable teachers to teach music regardless of their musical knowledge and expertise. There is a set of resources for each of the primary years, each set being divided into units based around primary topics. The resources comprise a Group Discussion Book which should inspire activities linked to listening materials on the accompanying cassette or CD. For Years 3 to 6 there are also Photocopy Masters which give the children access to activities which should help them develop skills in performing, composing, listening and appraising. There is also a Teacher's Resource Book for each year which gives guidance on how to plan and organise music in the classroom. The Carousel programme is published by Ginn, price from pound;49.70.
Galt's Fruit Shakers are realistic pieces of fruit which are easy to grasp and each one emits a different pitch of sound when shaken. The set contains one banana, one apple, one orange and one pear, and would fit well into appropriate school productions. Priced pound;19.99.
Heron's Fun Music range contains four music makers: the Rainbomaker is a durable plastic tube which contains different coloured plastic parts which when tipped upside down will produce a rushing sound like falling rain; the Bendy bells have adjustable Velcro straps to accommodate different sizes; the Clatter-pillar is moved like a squeeze box to produce varying sounds; and the Note finder consists of a wooden base with eight different coloured bells and eight plain bells. The bells can be played as a single set or together for a double bell sound. The bell set measures 50 cm. Rainbomaker, priced pound;10.50, Bendy Bells, priced pound;8.49, Clatter-pillar, priced pound;6.99, Note finder, pound;18.99.
'Music makers', which are not instruments in the classical sense, are useful when it comes to school productions and plays. and can provide an important part for children who may not want to act. Early Learning Centre stocks Kazoos in assorted colours at 60p each, Magic Flutes, which have no note holes but a slider to vary the tone, in assorted colours at 99p and Rainmakers, priced pound;9.99.
Using a stick or beater to play an instrument is a very therapeutic occupation and an aid to manual dexterity and concentration. Heron's Chime Bars contain ten bars which are mounted on resonance boxes. The chimes are diatonic (they follow the intervals and tones of a musical scale) and they can be used individually or assembled to provide the effect of a glockenspiel. The set comes with two beaters, priced pound;39.50.
Hope's new Little Fingers Xylophone is made from quality rosewood and has fixed bars to alleviate trouble during performance and prevent part of the instrument being lost. The large beaters, included in this set, facilitate easy playing for beginner percussionists. Priced pound;149.99. Hope also stocks a Giant Xylophone which is large enough to accommodate two or three performers or would be appropriate for children with special needs. This is made from wood with different coloured keys and a plain wooden beater. The instrument measures 56 x 50 x 11 cm, price pound;69.95.
The Lollipop drum from Hope has a handle with coiled, striped tubes winding in a circle. Striking at different areas of the drum with the beater supplied produces a variety of tones. Priced pound;14.99.
Hands On stocks a selection of wooden blocks with beaters: A large tone block with beater is priced pound;5.99 and a two tone block with beater is priced pound;5.49; both are made from citrus wood.
A beech wood block with beater is priced pound;5.49.
Also from Hands On is a triangle with striker. Made from aluminium and measuring 120 mm, the set costs pound;2.49.
Heron stocks a range of multicultural instruments from India and Africa. Indian tambours, which are similar to flat based drums, come in two sizes - 30 and 45 cm, priced pound;13.95 and pound;31.99; An Indian gong bell, measuring 15 cm, with wooden beater is priced pound;12.95; An African calabash rattle with wood filling is priced pound;18.49, a calabash rattle filled with seeds is priced pound;12.99. An African calabash branch rattle is priced pound;8.49,; an African double wickered rattle is priced pound;12.99; an African double gong is priced pound;24.99 and an African single gong is priced pound;17.99.
If you haven't the space for traditional music stands and are encouraging children to read simple musical notation you may want to consider The Folding Box Company's music stands which are made from lightweight, corrugated plastic and resilient to wear and tear. They come in a variety of colours, fold flat for storage, can be easily assembled and can be placed on the floor or on a desk. The stands cost pound;1.42 each (minimum order of ten)
Heron's LinkUp Music Trolley is designed for schools which have to share music resources between classes. It is accessible from all sides, has trays on the bottom shelves for storage and wooden compartments at the top. The trolley also has heavy duty, lockable castors and will fit through standard doorways. The trolley is available with or without a selection of instruments, which include claves, castanets with handle, tambourine, pair of cymbals, maxi guiro, tambour, two triangles, two bell sticks, two guiroagogo, two mini maracas, two mini glockenspiels, two finger cymbals and four sleigh bells. Trolley priced pound;249 with instruments, pound;159 without instruments.
New to the Hope catalogue is the Little Fingers Treasure Chest. The chest is lockable and durable and contains one lollipop drum, four bird whistles, three mouse castanets, one penguin tambourine, one koala tambourine, one monkey handbell, one frog handbell, one pair of frog maracas and one toucan slide whistle, priced pound;99.99.
The Galt Music Cube is made from wood and laminate and comes with a musical notation design. It contains ten individual chime bars, an alto diatonic metallophone, a natural skin tambourine measuring 15 cm, a natural skin tambourine measuring 21 cm, a tuneable tambourine measuring 21 cm, a natural skin drum measuring 15 cm, two bell sticks, two triangles measuring 10 cm, one triangle measuring 20 cm, a triangle measuring 15 cm, a guiro, two hand bells, ten wooden beaters, ten rubber beaters, five soft felt beaters, two pairs of finger cymbals, two pairs of cymbals, a cymbal with stand, two pairs of claves, a double tone block, castanets with handle, a set of maracas, a double tone guior, a wood block, four descant recorders, a music stand and a diatonic metallophone, priced pound;429.95.
Galt also stocks a Musical Instruments Board which is wall mounted with end panels shaped like a saxophone. The board has hooks to hang items from and a base shelf and rail with holes to fit items into. It comes complete with a pair of claves, handle bells, handle castanets, castanets without handle, mini maracas, two pairs of finger cymbals, a 15 cm triangle and a 21 cm tuneable tambourine. It measures 60 x 62 x 30 cm, and costs pound;99.95.