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Bolang Gu usually consists of one double-headed drum, a rod located at the bottom of the drum, and two pellets which are individually connected to the side of drum by a short cord. When you hold the rod and start twisting it back and forth, the pellets will strike the drum in a rhythmic fashion.
During Song Dynasty, the Bolang Gu drum found its way in ceremonies, music and commercial activities. It also became a toy for children, enjoying an immense popularity, mainly thanks to its sound effect and its entertaining function.
Although pellet drums are often used in religious ritual (particularly Tibet, Mongolia, India, and Taiwan), small versions are also used in East Asia as children’s toys or as noisemakers by street vendors. Such small versions are sometimes also referred to as rattle drums.
Group/ Circle Time:
- Old MacDonald Had a Band – This version is sung to the tune of the original, except instead of animals, he has instruments. Divide your class into groups with each one playing a different instrument (.i.e. tambourines, sticks, drums, triangles, etc.)
- If You’re Happy and You Know It – Replace body movements with instruments. (i. e. play your drum, tap your sticks, shake your maraca, etc.)
Books/ Story time:
- Use rhythm instruments to add sound effects, portray characters or emphasize an important or repetitive phrase in the book. Check out Bright Hub Education for some examples of books that work well with percussion instruments
Music and Movement:
- Include a basket of movement props such as scarves, ribbons and feathers
- Set up a listening station with CD’s from different cultures and encourage children to play along with the songs
Language and Counting:
- Songs like “Ten in the Bed” and “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” are good songs for teaching counting and sequence and also reverse counting. Sing them during circle time and after singing each verse, count while tapping rhythm sticks or drums.
- Hold a “sound hunt” to find things that make interesting sounds.
Art & Craft:
Related items in our catalogue
- Children and adults tangzhuang suits
- Gong (Chau Gong) with stand and striker
- Red Chinese Dragon Head
- Book: ‘Celebration: Children Just Like Me’
- Book: ‘Kids Around The World Celebrate’
Musical Percussion Instruments
The research for this resource was made possible through a grant from the Central Coast Council.