“The Rhythm of Life is a Powerful Beat, puts a Tingle in your Fingers and a Tingle in your Feet”!

When we think about classroom percussion, we immediately think of an exasperated teacher losing patience and quickly reaching for the paracetamol! The lesson could quickly descend into semi-organised bedlam with an array of noisy interludes. There is fine line between a Tambourine and a detention!

However.  With the right organisation, innovative activities, and some excellent and inexpensive percussion equipment, the pupils will be engrossed and enthused.  Plus, the teacher will be contented and headache free!  Or in the words of Ofsted; “Outstanding”!

Here at Normans Musical Instruments we are proud to be one of the UK’s leading supplier of classroom percussion. In this article, I will take you through our most popular A-Star Percussion range, where the quality & price will astound.

playing-djembe

Djembe

There is nothing better than getting your class in a big circle to teach them the principals of African Drumming.  Rhythms, Call & Response, Imitation, Improvisation.  Yes, it will result in reddened hands, but it will also result in a great lesson!  The A-Star Djembe range is without doubt, one of the best investments a school can make. Each drum is hand made using high quality solid wood, natural rope and natural heads giving a superb sound. Traditionally decorated, these drums come in sizes ranging from 5” up to the ‘master drummer’ 10” model. Even better value, we offer complete sets of 4, 6, 10, 15 or 20 player packs.

metallophone

Metallophones/Glockenspiels

One of the easiest ways to teach children the principals of rhythm and pitch is with a Glockenspiel or Xylophone.  It is also a great way for assessing hand-eye coordination as well as musical performance.

Produced for the youngest of K.S.1/2 classes, the A-Star 8-Note Colour Coded Glockenspiels are ideal for early years pupils to develop their musical skills. The coloured keys, which also have the actual note name on as well, let them explore the initial theory of music. Plus, have great fun doing it!

For the older Key Stages, as well as Secondary School Bands and Orchestras, there is the A-Star 25-Note Chromatic Glockenspiel. This best seller is not only great value-for-money, but sounds brilliant, plus it is all situated in its own bespoke case for easy storage.  Each individual note bar is perfectly tempered giving an excellent tone and resonance.

At the higher end of tuned percussion, we provide the A-Star Metallophones. These professional sounding instruments are available in both chromatic and diatonic ranges, with Alto, Bass and Soprano versions. The large wooden frame and professionally milled note bars result in a beautiful, resonant tone across the full range.

maracas-and-guiros

Maracas & Guiros

A necessity in teaching Latin inspired music, A-Star has produced the staple instruments of Maracas, Guiros and Agogos.  Think of Rio and Acapulco, but much cheaper!

The A-Star wooden Agogo, either as a double or triple version, comes complete with a beater for instant percussive technique performance.  When it comes to Guiro’s, A-Star offer some brilliant options; Guiro Tone Block, or the Large and Small Fish Guiro’s. Nothing fishy about these, just an authentic and attractive performance!

Maracas; it’s carnival time!  Plastic, wooden, multi-coloured, the choice may confuse you, but the quality and sound certainly won’t. The A-Star maracas offer you authenticity with affordability.

“Oh, Oh Ooooh, let’s all do the Conga”!

child-playing-xylophone

Xylophones

Mankind has hit pieces of wood for centuries, for both communication, entertainment and cricket!!

As far as musical entertainment is concerned, the Xylophone adds a unique and exquisite timbre to any musical score and performance.

Professional full-sized Xylophones can cost many thousands of pounds which are out of reach of most of schools.  A-Star offers the perfect solution; a range of top quality Xylophones.  Available in whichever range you require, Alto Half Chromatic, Soprano Chromatic, Bass Diatonic, Soprano Diatonic and Alto Diatonic. They are guaranteed to enhance your tuned percussion section in concerts.

triangle

Chimes & Triangles

Think of School Bands.  Think Harry Potter, Matilda, Magic, Fantasy, any John Williams or Danny Elfman piece.  In fact, think of most pieces played, I promise you, Wind Chimes will enhance them all!

Stagg produce 3 sizes of excellent Wind Chimes, with options of 20, 25, or 36 chimes.  They are all perfectly tempered and sound ‘mysteriously’ enchanting!

The mighty Triangle. Simple in design, inexpensive to buy, but priceless in the percussion section. The A-Star triangles come in different sizes, and therefore natural pitch.  From 10cm up to 20cm they are supplied with a holder and beater for instant, resonant ‘pings’!

tambourine

Tambourines

D.I.S.C.O,  and most other ‘pop’ records in the past half a century, would be less fun without the dependable tambourine. Generally indestructible, occasionally entertaining, and constantly one of the best value for money and most popular percussion instruments money can buy.

A-Star meet all of those criteria, with their huge range of Tambourines. Many colours and shapes such as half-moon, mini, headless, headed, you name it.  Normans have it!

clave

Claves & Woodblocks

The minimalist Claves are often used in Afro-Cuban and North American popular music as a percussive emphasis to the syncopated Latin rhythms. Non-musical onlookers may think that they are simply two basic sticks of wood.  But we all know that they are expertly manufactured to exact sizing for a consistent tone & pitch, often of maple.  The A-Star Claves are just that, solid maple, inexpensive and hugely popular with school performances and classroom teaching.

Woodblocks, another great and inexpensive percussive addition to the texture of a score and performance.  The A-Star Two Tone Wood block does exactly that.  Serrated blocks of two sizes give an easy, hand-held dual tone aspect to any piece. A-Star also do non-ridged versions as well as singular blocks, all complete with beaters.

wak-a-tube

Wak-a-Tubes

BoomWhackers? Sounds like an Australian Cricket team??!

No, these brightly coloured tuned percussion tubes are played by striking them on a hard, flat surface (not Australians, but that could be an option!).

The Wak-a-Tubes Diatonic Set consists of 8 colourful tubes pitched from C – C. Hitting the floor with the whole length gives the loudest sound. Brilliant fun and easy to play – you can play tunes on them and make up musical games. Great in workshops, play schemes and schools.

Normans can also supply Boomwhackers in a Chromatic Set, Bass Diatonic Set, or even the Boomophone XTS Whack Pack with a rolled holder, octave cap and beaters.

percussion-set

Percussion Sets

So far, I have highlighted and introduce you a small amount of the vast range of percussion products aimed at schools and classroom activities.  However, here at Normans Musical Instruments we also have the ever-popular Percussion Sets and Kits.  These packs provide an all-in-one solution for any school music department.

Let’s start with the best; the A-Star 30 Piece Percussion Class Pack. These fun yet informative percussion packs are growing ever more popular with teachers throughout the country and it’s no surprise why.  With 30+ high-quality instruments to choose from (too many to name!), every child will find something that they will love playing. Not only this, but the new and exciting sounds, alongside the vibrant and attractive designs make learning fun for the pupils.

The A-Star 30 Player Pack also offers superb value for money with an affordable one-box solution (easy and safe storage).  Ideal for Key Stage 1+ classes, parties, workshops, school bands etc. you will not be disappointed!

On a smaller scale, we offer the A-Star 10-piece and 9-Piece Percussion packs. Again, they are ideal for smaller groups and classes, or simply to enhance the bigger sets. Shakers, maracas, triangle, castanets, glockenspiel etc. all safely stored in a clear vinyl bag.

So, if it is reliable, great sounding and affordable percussion you need for your classroom or school, Normans is the best place without doubt to shop.

A certainty for “Rhythm in your Classroom, Rhythm in the Street, Yes, the Rhythm of Life is a Powerful Beat”!

About the author

Nick joined the Normans Sales Team after a musical career spanning 35 years; firstly as a principal trombonist in Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Band Service for 24 years, performing around the UK and worldwide, including on the Royal Yacht Britannia, and then within the education sector teaching GCSE and A Level Music and Music Technology. He is a keen Big Band, Jazz performer and Hi-Fi enthusiast.

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