Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sail for Boomwhackers

My 3rd graders are loving boomwhackers right now and so am I! These things are one of my favorite classroom instruments! This summer I added some additional tubes to my collection and now have 6 sets. That seems to be enough to accommodate my largest classes of 24 students. That being said, having more boomwhackers means I can write new songs!

Last year, we played "Somebody That I Used to Know" and everyone enjoyed playing a pop song. So, last week I arranged "Sail" by Awolnation for boomwhackers and we started working on it. The boomwhacker part is the chordal accompaniment and I play the melody on the piano. I did have to transpose the piece because I don't have chromatic notes so we can't play with the recording but everyone seemed to like hearing it on the piano.

I've found when teaching boomwhackers to younger students it is easier to group them and have them play by color. That is how I arranged this piece. Group 1 is A minor, Group 1+ is the A minor chord with D, Group 2 is G major and Group 3 is C major. Then I added the group numbers to the rhythmic notation. To my surprise, this was INCREDIBLY EASY to teach, even the group 1 to 1+ change! They picked it up with no problems.

Just like the groups below, I have the students sit in their groups in a line facing the smartboard. This is easy for them to see when it is their turn to play. The next page in the file is the rhythm with the group numbers. You can download it HERE.
Finally, here is a short clip of a 5th grade class demonstrating this piece. We finished early and they were interested in learning it! I didn't have enough students in the class to fill out the entire chord (they are split between music and library for the semester) but you can still hear the general idea.


  1. Hi, any chance you'd like to share your piano part of Sail?

    1. I played it by ear...A ( triplet) C (triplet) D E D C A; repeat; G (triplet) A (triplet) C D C A G; (Octave up) rest, rest, E (triplet), G (triplet), A (triplet), C (triplet)

      Hope this helps. Sorry I don't have music for it.