Let’s get the xylophones out of the cupboard!

Do you want to know how EASY it can be to use xylophones in the classroom?

3335292In order to know the secret of making xylophones easy for children we first need to grasp the pentatonic scale as this is the KEY!

The pentatonic scale is the first five notes of a scale that don’t contain any semitones. E.g.   C D E G A

  • Take any xylophone/glockenspiel/chime bar set with notes from C-C (no black notes at this stage). Take out all the F’s and all the B’s. You now have only the notes of the pentatonic scale. ANYTHING your children play will be harmonious.
  • Then learn a simple song using these notes. Eg. Bow wow wow

Bow wow wow  (C C C Z)

Who’s dog art thou? (E ee E Z)

Little Tommy Tucker’s Dog (gg gl ge C)

Bow wow wow (E D C Z)

FYI: Upper case is Ta (crotchet) Lower case is Te-Te (2 quavers) and Z is a rest!

  • When the children know the song well, they can easily learn to play it.
  • The children can sing this song while accompanying themselves on their xylophones. Ideal notes for accompanying this song are C E G.
  • The children can make up compositions including a drone (repeated notes on the pulse) the melody and an ostinato. It all harmonises beautifully.
  • These notes are sometimes called Do Re Mi So and La (Pentatonic solfa)
  • Solfa notes can have characters which make them easier for the children to learn!

1490481Xylophones do not have to be complicated and even if you have a whole class of 30 six year-olds, each with their own xylophone, glockenspiel or set of chime bars, you can STILL impress the head teacher, before the children even know what they are doing! The notes sound beautiful together.


The key is using only the notes of the pentatonic scale to start with.

Let’s lose the Fs and the Bs and learn loads of songs using the pentatonic scale. Then nothing can go wrong!!! (yes, well……..) It’s also great to teach rhythms within the safety of the pentatonic scale and most importantly, in-tune singing.

Studio shoot for the Interactive Music Club taken on 28/06/09There are heaps of songs using the notes of the pentatonic scale in Active Music Digital. There are also 42 progressive lesson plans from Reception up to year 6 all based around singing, playing, composing and improvising using the notes of the pentatonic scale. It’s fun! The other 126 lesson plans are all based around rhythm and pulse, singing games and instrumental activities.

Studio shoot for the Interactive Music Club taken on 28/06/09

TRY ACTIVE MUSIC FOR FREE!   If you would like to see more of these ideas, as well as all the other games and activities, please sign up to our FREE TRIAL at http://www.activemusicdigital.co.uk where you can access over 600 DVD TRACKS of these games and activities being played and can download 40 lesson plans. It would be great to see you there.

As this is a digital process and often lacks the human touch, you can also email me at any time at office@activemusicdigital.co.uk and I am more than happy to discuss musical issues or answer your questions. All the best,  Sally………

Happy Music Teaching!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s