Welcome to Amy Conley's resource page for materials and contacts that will be useful in your music education program.
Materials to Make: Egg Shakers (buy plastic eggs in late spring on sale, fill with anything, tape 'em up good, I like electrical tape because it's slightly stretchy for nonflat surfaces!); Scarf Rope (collect old scarves from teachers and parents, tie each end together to make a long rope of scarves. This can be tied temporarily in a circle for some circle songs, or left long to make a train to carry, do a snake dance in and out between each other or all around the room, etc.); Sticks from dowels (get parents to cut up some dowels, 6-8" and the children can sand them with sandpaper to smooth out the ends); Rhythm Rope: Hang a rope across part of the room and from that hang different cans/plastic recyclables, tap with dowels to singing or recorded music.
Materials to find in a classroom or home: 1. Plastic containers such as empty honey or cheese contatiners, plastic dishes, enamel pans, cookware that might be broken but safe, kitchen stuff from the dollar store, a few wooden or metal items, put them all in a large bag (such as a nylon laundry bag) and take them out for songs about cooking, food, etc. They are great instruments! Make sure there are enough things for each child to have something to tap on and something to tap with, such as a bowl and a wooden spoon, or a pan and a stick. 2. Any set of something like dolls, dinosaurs, cars, blocks, that can be used either as rhythm instruments or props to sing with (ex. stuffed animals, for animal songs, dancing, rocking with etc.). 3. Costumes, dress up and act out some songs. 4. paper plates or other art materials can sometimes be used for singing, such as masks, props, etc. 5. Set of pillows or chairs to use for musical games. 6. Mat to jump over when singing any song about going over things (Bear Went over the mountain, My Bonnie lies over the sea), or acting out Three Billy Goats Gruff, etc. 7. Clothes from the coat area, songs about mittens, shoes, or act out a song with.
Materials to buy: Here are some online suppliers I use regularly: http://www.mindysmusikids.com/ , http://www.littlelovees.com/ , http://www.mudpiemusic.com/ & http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/ (rainbow streamers), http://www.musictogether.com/ All carry instruments and props for music and movement. Always ask for teacher discounts, or volume discounts. Try your local music or toy store and ask for a volume or teacher discount also, maybe they can match the online pricing. My favorite items are: 1.Cooperband, a giant scrunchy! 2. parachute 3. hula hoops 4. jingle bells on wrist bands with velcro or just round plastic loop 5. Dynabands, available in non-latex in rolls from health or medical supply companies, cut up into two-foot sections. 6.dishwasher-safe red plastic Rhythmix sticks 7.drums of any kind, The Village Drum in Hookset NH or the websites above. 8. lightweight dancing scarves (15-27" wide squares) and Rainbow Dancing Streamers from Discount School Supply. 9. Egg Shakers from Mindy, many types and volume discounts. 10. Assorted rhythm instruments, ask parents if they could donate one or two and you'll have a whole set in no time. 10. Local rhythm instruments: Toyland in Milford, Music and Arts Center in Manchester, Mother and Child in Nashua.
Where to find great songs in a hurry! The Children's Music Network http://www.cmnonline.org/ has songs resource pages, especially in the area of human development and environmental issues. Songs are streamed, but you can also visit individual artists there and support their work.
Where to learn about early childhood music development: http://www.musictogether.com/ The national website for Music Together®.
World Music (develops excellent tonal and rhythm skills) Putamayo recordings! My favorites are World Playground and World Playground II
Exotic Instruments from Around the World: Lark in the Morning (catalogue and website). http://www.larkinthemorning.com/