Posted: June 10th, 2022

Musical Instrument and Video

You will construct a simple musical instrument (for a child who is 4-6 years old) from a different culture, write a 3 length paragraph and present the instrument as a video on FLIPGRID. Then in a future discussion, you will comment on several of your peers’ video. The completed instrument, the paragraph and the video.
Your paragraphs should include the following information:
1. History of the origins of the instrument
2. Directions as to how to create your instrument
3. A song, finger play, or other creative musical expression from the culture
4. Information as to how you would teach a group of VPK (4-year old) children how to use the instrument.
You will upload a video on Flipgrid in a separate assignment area. It will need to be less than 4 minutes and include the following:
1.Show your instrument and talk through how you made the instrument. Demonstrate how it works.
2. Give a brief history of the instrument
3. Teach song/ finger play/ creative expression OR explain/ give resource information (if not possible to teach) and explain how you would teach a group of 4-6 year old children. You may have accompanying music in the background– do the best you can with sound
Running Header: THE CUATRO 1
Musical Instrument and Showcase:
The Puerto Rican Cuatro
[Student Name]
The University of Central Florida: College of Education and Human Performance
I. History of the Instrument
The cuatro is known as Puerto Rico’s national instrument; and, according to Cumpiano (2019), the cuatro is smaller than a guitar but larger than a mandolin. You can mostly hear the cuatro being played in more traditional/ folklore songs (there will be some examples in part three). The instrument got its name because the original cuatro only had four strings, the modern version has a total of ten strings paired up into five sections. The instrument’s original shape was also different than the modern one; it used to look like a keyhole. “Later in Puerto Rico, around 1915, artisans in the Arecibo region changed its traditional keyhole shape into one reminiscent of a violin, which had become a symbol of upper-class sophistication,” (Cumpiano, 2019, para. 5). Although the exact origin of the instrument is unknown, it has been thought to have been a part of Puerto Rico for over 4 centuries. And, the cuatro has been thought to have been the preferred instrument of the Jíbaro (which is the Puerto Rican term used to describe the people who used to live in the mountains and work the fields). In conclusion, this instrument is a cultural representation of the Puerto Rican heritage and will always be a staple in the traditional music of Puerto Rico.
II. How to Make a Cuatro with Your Students
· A tissue box or shoe box (a shoe box is bigger, but with the tissue box you don’t have to cut a circle in the middle as a guitar has).
· Paper towel roll.
· Scissors.
· Glue and/or tape (I used both).
· Stapler.
· Popsicle sticks (4 per instrument).
· Construction paper.
· Paint.
· Brushes.
· Any other art material you’d like to use (I used pipe cleaners and glitter glue. Have variety so that your students have a chance to be as creative as they want).
1. Paint the paper towel roll and decorate it.
2. Decorate the tissue box or shoe box how you would like your guitar to look like.
*If you have a shoe box cut a circle in the middle.*
3. Cut four holes, using scissors, to stick the popsicle sticks in the paper towel roll.
4. Once the paint has dried, paste the paper towel roll onto the box. You can also tape it on to the box if you find it easier for you and your classroom.
*Let the glue dry before continuing*
5. Grab 4 rubber bands and cut them so they form a line (aka so they aren’t round).
6. Staple one band from a popsicle stick, past the circle in the center. (Repeat 3 more times).
And, you’re done!
III. Songs You Can Listen to that Have the Cuatro
The following are the most popular songs that have a cuatro. Most of these songs are sung during a winter season festivity called a Parranda (which is basically a Puerto Rican take on caroling). Unfortunately, these songs are all in Spanish, but you should always expose children to culturally diverse music; additionally, you can always look up the meaning behind the song and explain it to children (Edwards, 2013, pg. 167-168).
1. Alegre Vengo
2. Alegria, Alegria, Alegria
3. Burrito Sabanero
4. Dame la Mano Paloma
5. Feliz Navidad
6. Lamento Borincano
Here are the lyrics to el “Burrito Sabanero”, this song is very easy to try and learn:
Con mi burrito sabanero voy camino de Belén
Con mi burrito sabanero voy camino de Belén
si me ven, si me ven voy camino de Belén
si me ven, si me ven voy camino de Belén
Con mi cuatrito voy tocando, mi burrito va saltando,
Con mi cuatrito voy tocando, mi burrito va saltando,
si me ven, si me ven voy camino de Belén
si me ven, si me ven voy camino de Belén
IV. Use in the Classroom and How to Teach Students to Use the Craft They Just Constructed
The instrument is very easy to play; just play it like you would play a regular guitar. If you’ve never played with a guitar, just strum the strings. As a teacher, you can model how to play it with your students but let them get creative with the approach first. You can use any of the songs above to play along to; however, all of them are in Spanish. Some reasons why you should introduce this and other instruments that are culturally diverse are because it helps children learn about different cultures other than their own and helps children from that culture feel identified, acknowledged, appreciated, and they might learn something about their culture and heritage they probably didn’t know.
Edwards, L. (2013). Music and movement: A way of life for the young child (7th ed.), (pp.137- 176). Boston: Pearson.
Cumpiano, W. (2019). A short history of the Puerto Rican Cuatro and its music.
Ramos, S. (n.d.). The Puerto Rican music.
Music Instrument and Showcase
Assignment 2: Musical Instrument and Showcase
[Student Name]
University of Central Florida
Rain Stick
The instrument that I chose was the rain stick. I chose this instrument because it is the
instrument that I remember the most from my childhood. It was something that always calmed
me down in the classroom because I loved rainstorms and it sounds just like them. Typically, a
rain stick is made from hollowed plant stalks, such as dried cactus or bamboo and it is filled with
pebbles or seeds (Scott, 2017). The materials that would be used to make a rain stick with a 4
year-old VPK class would be paper towel rolls, washable paint (in different colors), paint
brushes, beans, beads, stickers, glue, rubber bands, paper, and ribbon.
To make a rain stick, each student first takes an empty paper towel roll and paints it however he or she wants to. They could then decorate the rain stick further with stickers, glitter, ribbons, colored paper or whatever they choose. After decorating the outside of the rain stick, the children choose what color paper and ribbon that they would like to put in the ends on the paper towel roll to hold the beans inside of it. Rubber bands will be used to hold the paper and ribbons in place. Once one side is of the roll is secured, the students put a hand full of beans inside and then repeat the last step with the other side of the roll. After this, the rain stick is completed.
The rain stick origins are very unclear because they are found in many places across the
globe (Scott, 2017). They have been found throughout the world with indigenous people especially in dry, desert climates (Bingaman, 2017). Historically, they appear to have been used in religious ceremonies to request rain from the heavens.
Some of the places that a rain stick have been found are in China but some historians
believe that it was developed as early as 1537 by slaves that were captured in West Africa who then brought them into Central and South America (Scott, 2017). Native Americans in the southwestern USA have also historically used rain sticks (Bingaman, 2017). The rain stick today is used in schools and museums to encourage young children to explore music history of different countries and to build motor skills by creating their own rain sticks (Scott, 2017). They are also used as a percussion instrument in various types of music as well as a relaxing and soothing sound for meditation (Bingaman, 2017).
A song that I would use with a group of young students would be “Clap! Clap! – The Rainstick Fable” (Acre, B, 2014). I found it on YouTube ( and it is a very upbeat and fun West African song that children can play their rain sticks to. The music represents the fable of a young boy’s journey to find rain for his village that has had no rain (“World Wide Water Education”, n.d.).I would use this song to teach children how the rain stick works and makes a sound that sounds like rain. In the song there are parts where you can hear the rain stick and I would also have children listen for those parts and then use their handmade instruments during those parts.
Acre, B. (2014). Clap! Clap! – The rainstick fable – (Black Acre). Retrieved from
Bingaman, M. (2017). Legend behind the Indian rain stick.
Scott, L. (2017). The history of the rain stick.
World wide water education (n.d.)

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