The beginning of the year in band is a busy time and often overwhelming for both directors and students. Many students don’t have an instrument in their hands until after a week or so of school. With that said, we believe a lot of learning about an instrument can happen before a student ever takes it out of the case! We have found that teaching students the parts of instruments before they learn how to put it together is highly effective. Less time is wasted when you put the instrument together because students can already quickly identify all the parts.
Because of last year’s online learning situation, we used various new teaching tools that worked so well that we decided to implement them each year- even with in person classes. One of our favorite digital tools is boom cards. Haven’t heard of boom cards? Think of them as digital flash cards that are self-grading so students get immediate feedback when they get a question right or wrong. Correct answers get a “ding” and students love hearing the instant feedback! We found that after playing these boom card sets, our students had a level of confidence going into the first hands-on steps of putting together their instruments and making the first sounds. That’s a huge win for directors and students!
Press play below to see a short video snapshot of how boom cards work. Students can play them on any device such as an ipad, computer, chromebook, or even a phone! No student login is needed to play. They click on a hyperlink that the teacher assigns and they can play immediately.
Teaching only in-person? Boom cards are great for displaying on an overhead projector for large class settings. An idea would be to project a BOOM deck in the front of the room and have a student leader call on students to give answers. This frees up the teacher to take roll or tend to other classroom issues that frequently happen at the beginning of the school year. The self-checking aspect of the cards are great for this! These also make fun entrance and exit tickets into the band room.
We hope that teaching the parts of the instruments ahead of time is helpful for your students, too. You can do this by using the diagrams in your band method book, but if you would like to try the digital, self-checking method mentioned in this article, you can find our Parts of the Instruments Boom Card Deck Bundle here!