A Triangle is an Idiophone

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Happy Tuesday everyone!  It’s time for a new Top 10 musical activity, and today we will be learning all about the triangle.  This activity is intended for preschool-aged children, ages 2-5.

Before attempting this activity, you will need the following items:

–A Triangle.  Click HERE to view a triangle on Amazon.com for purchase.  The triangle is one of my Top 10 musical instruments under $40 that promotes music education in the home.  Click HERE to see the complete list.

–Masking tape or painter’s tape.  I prefer painter’s tape, because it has less stick and is easier to peel off.

–The beautiful story, “How Full is Your Bucket” by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer.   The book is available at you local library, bookstore, but if you’d like the Amazon link, HERE it is.

Triangles are a type of instrument called an idiophone.  Idiophones are musical instruments that create sound primarily by way of the instrument’s vibrating, without the use of strings.  Allow your child to see what happens first, when you strike the triangle by holding on to one of the metal sides.  You will not get a full tone, because your grasp is blocking the vibration.  Next, allow your child to hold the  triangle by a string and strike the triangle to listen to its full sound.  This small instruction will teach the child how to play the triangle correctly and will teach them a bit about sound in the process.

The activity:

One of the beautiful things about musical triangles is that they are a perfect way to teach a child about how the shape has 3 sides.  I found a perfect song on a website called preschoolexpress.com.  It is written by Liz Ryerson, and it is sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells.”  Any parent can sing this simple tune, but it also works well as a chant if you prefer.

Triangles, triangles,

Triangles I see.

Count the points and count the sides,

Count them 1, 2, 3.

Triangles, triangles,

Just for you and me.

Count the points and count the sides,

Count them 1, 2, 3.

As you sing or chant “1,2,3” instruct your child to sound the triangle with each number.

To get your child moving and marching to the beat of the song/chant, mark out the shape of a large triangle on the floor with masking tape or painter’s tape.  Sing/chant the song again and again.  Your child should march along the shape of your marked out floor triangle while you sing, only to stop and play their instrument each time you get to “1,2,3.”

To continue on with this lesson, the book “How Full is Your Bucket” sets the tone for the perfect use of this instrument.  The story is fantastic and is a New York Time’s bestseller.  Here’s is the synopsis from Amazon.com:

“Through the story of a little boy named Felix, this charming book explains to children how being kind not only helps others, it helps them, too. As he goes about his day, Felix interacts with different people — his sister Anna, his grandfather, other family and friends. Some people are happy, but others are grumpy or sad. Using the metaphor of a bucket and dipper, Felix’ grandfather explains why the happy people make Felix feel good, while the others leave him feeling bad — and how Felix himself is affecting others, whether he means to or not. This beautifully illustrated adaptation takes the original book’s powerful message — that the way we relate to others has a profound effect on every aspect of our lives — and tailors it to a child’s unique needs and level of understanding.”

There are drops of water that go in and out of the main character, Felix’s bucket.  The triangle can make the sound of the drips and drops.  As you read the story, instruct your child to make a sound each time they see the water going in and out of the bucket.  They are now using the triangle to create music and are having fun in the process.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s at-home musical lesson.  Please don’t forget to check back next week for another Top 10 musical activity and for some musical fun with your child.  Happy singing!

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