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Book Review: Hands On: A Rockin' Rhythmic Romp by Jim Solomon

May 13, 2013

by David Birrow  Birrow.David@MacPhail.org

It is May 13th. For K-12 general music teachers, the light at the end of the tunnel is now visible. Spring concerts will be finished in a few weeks, then a couple weeks of teaching, then summer break. Those teaching weeks that are sandwiched between concert time and vacation can be tricky as students are wiped from concert preparations and can taste that sweet summer freedom. Teachers need something that will go over well while still having the students learn something.

A perennial student favorite is drumming. Jim Solomon's Hands on: A Rocking Rhythmic Romp is a great book for the general music classroom. The book contains thirty pieces for percussion, most based around speech rhythms. Being an Orff teacher and pedagogue, Solomon coordinates simple, traditional rhymes with hand drumming (tubanos) and percussion instruments (guiro, shaker, claves, et. al.). Two of the pieces include recorder and five of the pieces are in 6/8. Solomon suggests grade levels, form, and teaching ideas for each piece. 

The strength of this book is how easy it is to use. If you are running on fumes, you can grab this book and throw together an effective lesson plan in a couple minutes. The step by step teaching suggestions give you a framework which you can easily modify for your classroom and students. One or two pieces could be taught during a single class session.

If you don't have a percussion background, don't worry, this book is a great way to start. Solomon gives you a few pointers in the beginning to get you going.  Best yet, this book is available in the Community Partnerships Library on the 3rd floor and you can preview the book immediately and for free on Google books.

 

Go Back

I own this book and I love it too. Jim Solomon's materials have come to my rescue on many occasions. I can attest that you don't need a formal percussion background to be successful with Solomon's materials. I also recommend anything by Chris Judah - Lauder, Artie Almedia or Joella Hug for engaging plans that leave plenty of room for teacher and student creativity.



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