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Classical Kids Music Lessons: So many sound sources!

Panflute player Patrick Brinksma/Unsplash

Need ideas for easy and fun at-home music learning? Here's our daily Classical Kids Music Lesson.

Target age range: Grades 3-6

1. First, listen to the audio of Angélica Negrón's composition El Colapso.

2. Take note of all the different sounds you hear. Can you identify them all? How many do you think are produced electronically, and how many are created by people? Guess how many people are making all of these sounds happen.

3. Next, watch a little bit of a video of the same piece, performed live. How close were your guesses?

4. In her notes on the piece, the composer says that besides the singing, most of the sounds come from "the charango and the zampoña (Andean pan flute) as well as an orchestra of found sounds crafted mostly through cookware and other domestic sounds." She processes many of these sounds through Ableton software.

5. Learn a little bit about the charango.

Bolivian charango Wikimedia Commons

The charango is a stringed instrument originally from areas in and around the Andes mountains. It is extremely loud for its size because it has five strings that are each doubled, for a total of ten strings. Doubling the strings makes the sound twice as loud. The back of the charango is shaped like an armadillo or turtle shell, which also amplifies (makes louder) the sound.

6. Learn about the zampoña, a traditional Andean panpipe.

Zampona Wikimedia Commons

The player blows across the opening of the tubes to create a sound. Which tubes do you think make the highest sounds? How about the lowest?

7. Maybe you noticed goat hooves in the video. Goat hooves are exactly what their name says — goat hooves!

Goat hooves Wikimedia Commons

When they are bunched together and bound onto a stick or handle, you can shake them to make a percussive sound.

8. Listen and watch another piece that features the charango. This piece, sung by MPR Class Notes Artists Border CrosSing, is from the 17th century. Compare and contrast this piece with what you heard in El Colapso.

Have a question or suggestion? Contact Katie Condon, music education specialist.

More: View all of our daily Classical Kids Music Lessons

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