by Jon Madin
Marimba Music for Little Kids is a collection of songs with simple tuned percussion parts associated with them.
For the youngest children - 5-6 year olds - the songs involve lots of actions and only a few specific notes. If the children don't always find the 'correct' note it doesn't matter all that much.
Several of the songs require alphabet echoes or answers. E.G., I wanna CCC-ee is followed by the children playing three Cs.
Ostinatos, scale passages and repeated patterns are featured often. The children can then memorise the music and give more attention to musicianship, singing and fun.
For each song there is a suggested age suitability. I often depart from these guidelines. Older children are happy to play simple pieces some of the time, especially if there is a fun element to it. Conversely, younger children may be ready for the challenge of a harder piece. Modify the speed of the teaching process accordingly.
When playing pieces like Monday's Child or Scooby Dooby Doo, use minimal accompaniment when the children are actually singing. Massed tuned and untuned percussion playing overpowers the children's singing. I like to give them turns at being the accompanists - maybe 4 - 6 children at one time -interspersed with instrumental sections when everyone plays together.
Simple arranging can make a big difference in the presentation of these pieces.
Click Sticks, for example, be arranged:
Brief Review by Barb Shearer, President VOSA 2000
Approach: Level: Type: Instrumental/Orff Primary Book + CD
Book + CD
This collection of instrumental pieces and songs for children is a wonderful homegrown resource for easy application in the classroom. Not only for marimbas, but also Orff instruments. While the title indicates that it is for little kids, the focus is on songs that familiarise children with tuned percussion: - use of mallets, different playing techniques, and the whereabouts of notes. As such, it is an excellent forerunner to Marimba Music 1 and Marimba Music 2, if children have had no previous experience with barred instruments.
The songs are great fun, with arrangements that include guitar chords, and often recorder parts. Each song has a suggested age range, preliminary and extension activities, and some teaching tips. The book and accompanying CD are both high quality products.