Learning Dynamics with the Hand Drum


Dynamics are how loud or how soft a piece of music should be played.  In this activity, the parent is the musical conductor and the child is the musician.  You will need a good hand drum to complete this activity successfully.  The hand drum is one of my suggested Top 10 musical instruments under $40 to promote music education in the home.

Click HERE to read my Top 10 list.

And…click HERE to see a great hand drum to purchase through Amazon for $14.99.  Here’s a picture of it:

For Ages 3-10

Parents, show your child that when you give a “thumbs up,” the music should be played louder, and when you give a “thumbs down,” the music should be played more softly.  Practice this concept encouraging your child to vary their sound and following direction by your hand movement.   They should try making sound with the drum by hitting their hand on it and by using the mallet to make sound.  Which is louder and which makes a softer sound?

If your child reads well (approximately ages 6-10), move on to the next activity.

Dynamics flash cards:

Make flash cards with the following music symbols:


pp                                                                           pianissimo (very soft)

mp                                                                         mezzo piano (moderately soft)

p                                                                             piano (soft)

mf                                                                          mezzo forte (moderately loud)

f                                                                              forte (loud)

ff                                                                            fortissimo (very loud)

Once your children becomes familiar with these musical terms and their meanings, have them play the hand drum according to the symbol on the flash card.  They should now be well versed in musical dynamics!


About tucsonsongstress

I am a music teacher for children ages 6-weeks-old - 8th grade. I am also a camp songleader and a Jewish music specialist with and without my husband who is known as Shabbat Scott. We love singing with people of all ages all over Tucson. My "song of the day" idea originally started by playing music challenges on Facebook. I loved choosing songs, and my friends seemed to love reading and listening to my choices. I have decided to continue a daily blog (or as daily as I can manage) and tell you all some stories through some songs that have touched me either in wonderful ways or by annoying the heck out of me. Hope you all enjoy this blog! Happy singing!

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