Explorations of Sound with 1st and 6th Grades

Recently our 1st graders paid a series of visits to the band room to explore
sound. Our 6th grade bands were the hosts as our guests researched various
aspects of how musical sounds are created and why the sounds differ from
each other.

The 6th graders played a bit for them, then handed them the instruments to
explore woodwind sounds, brass sounds and percussion sounds. They noted
how the sounds differed based on what vibrated to make the sound, how the
size of an instrument affects how high or low it is and many other physical
aspects of sound generation. They noticed how the air escapes out the tiny
holes on the big bass drum when you strike it. They tightened and loosened
their lips to make different sounds on the trumpet.

They played the timpani and noticed how the highest sounds came when
the drum head was stretched to its tightest. They slid the slide on the
trombone and noted how the lowest sounds were when the slide was at its
longest. The placed their fingers over the keys of the clarinet and saxophone
and heard the sound get lower as they covered more keys. It was a wonderful
exploration driven by some curious minds and fueled by the knowledgeable
6th grade band!

Story by Mike Perry- MYP music teacher