As a ‘music on a cart’ teacher, I’m all about using teaching aids and manipulatives in various ways and for multiple purposes. My cart space is at a premium, and though I can fit a lot more items on my cart than one may think, there will always, of course, be space limitations compared to music teachers with their own classrooms. With that said, today I want to share about one of my favorite multi-activity musical items that I keep permanently on my cart and use often throughout the school year...the slide whistle!
At the mention of a slide whistle, one would probably think of using it for vocal and pitch exploration and that’s absolutely true. However, it’s also great for exploring movement and encouraging composition! Here are 7 examples of how I like to use the slide whistle in a way that invites students to engage their voices, bodies, and creative minds in my elementary music classes:
As you can probably tell, I like to use a variety of smooth, sharp, sustained, ascending, descending and combination patterns. I start with short and simple (about 1 second long, using only 1 pattern) and increase to longer and more complex patterns (4+ seconds using multiple, connected patterns) as the year goes on. These activities are great opportunities for vocal and movement exploration and allows for performance assessment in a super fun way. These slide whistle activities also make great “5 minute fillers” for when there’s an emergency drill or assembly that’s eaten up a large chunk of the music period, leaving only a few minutes of class time.
Looking for some fun and unique pattern cards to use?
Check out the "Exploration Cards" resource in the Cart Closet!
And finally, the slide whistle can also serve as my second voice. In the unfortunate times that I've had laryngitis, these various slide whistle activities really come in handy. Yet even when I’m in good health, they offer a nice vocal pause and a chance for some vocal rest in the midst of a heavy teaching day.
How about you? Have you ever incorporated the slide whistle into your music teaching activities? Have you ever used it for something other than vocal/pitch exploration? Have you ever considered using it for movement activities? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas below!
Encouraging you to rock as you roll,