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Instrument Spotlight: Egg Shakers

Mar 12, 2020
 

I remember my daughter going through a shaker obsession. She carried around an egg shaker with her for nearly a week sometime before she was 2 years old. Sometimes she was shaking it, and sometimes she was just holding it. I can’t blame her! There is something almost comforting about cupping the smooth egg shaped instrument in your hand, and shaking it to create a gentle, pleasant sound.

What we like about shakers. 

  • Easy to play: even little babies can grab them and shake them! 
  • Create a gentle, pleasant sound
  • Immediate satisfaction to children when they hear the shaking sound they’ve created
  • They are usually brightly colored, which offers opportunities to sing and learn about colors
  • Lots of opportunity to develop body awareness, coordination, and cross the midline
  • Can reduce anxiety or frustration
  • Develop impulse control
  • Makes musical concepts come alive

Interested in our Clap for Classics! instruments?  Check out all the details here.

As with all rhythm instruments, shakers are great for practicing steady beat skills. Kids need tons of practice with hearing and keeping a steady beat, to set themselves up for rhythmic success as they learn and grow. So, feel free to shake that shaker along with any piece of music that has a steady, consistent beat! Tapping the shaker on your knee or the floor can be fun too. 

Since shakers are so easy to hold, they are perfect for simple movement songs that teach spatial awareness, focusing on things such as body parts and directions. They can also be used to reinforce musical concepts such as high/low, fast/slow, soft/loud.

In this Egg Shaker Mini-Class video, you’ll hear four songs. The first is one of our originals, called “Shaky the Shaker” that reinforces musical concepts. The second is a cute song about eggs, which we use to practice colors and body parts. The third is a classical piece (Mozart’s Overture to the Marriage of Figaro) that we use to practice keeping a steady beat. And the last one is one of our favorites, "Shake and Shake and Shake and Shake and Stop."  A fabulous impulse control song that is great for all ages.

We hope you enjoy exploring egg shaker music-making with your little one! And we won’t raise our eyebrows if we see you out and about with egg shaker in hand. :) In fact, we’ll send you off with an entertaining NY Times article featuring an adult appreciation for the egg shaker:

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/magazine/letter-of-recommendation-egg-shakers.html

Types:

Store-bought

  • Lots of options for colors, etc. You can find them in sets of 6, 12, 18 and higher. 
  • All of these activities could be done with a regular maraca-type instrument, as well an egg shaker.

Homemade:

  • Grab an Easter egg and scoop a couple tablespoons of rice or beans inside. Secure it shut with some washi tape.
  • Put rice or beans in a water bottle and secure the lid with some glue. (Not egg shaped) 
  • You can even use a toilet paper roll, cover the ends with paper, and secure with a rubber band + tape. (Not egg shaped) 
  • Use an empty applesauce or yogurt container (the small, individual size) and stretch a balloon over it (again, with rice or beans inside). Use a square of duct tape on the bottom to secure

If you liked the instruction in this video and would like more Clap for Classics! in your life and in your home, please check out our Monthly Music Courses.  We think you'll love them!

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