Tippity tap tippy tap go the spoons, on a hand, on a leg, through the fingers, all creating a delightful beat to accompany upbeat bluegrass music… born from the musicians in the Appalachian mountains.  If you have two spoons about the same size, like a nice heavy weight set of serving spoons, you have… in your hands, the instrument you need to lay down and impressive set of rhythms.

To go along with our study of Appalachian music in the Level 5: Kindermusik for the Young Child program, we take the opportunity to play many instruments this fall, as well as your average, everyday household spoons.  I demonstrate a LITTLE of what I know about playing the spoons and encourage several parents to try.  Well, there just isn’t enough time in class to do this effectively, so, of course, I decided to find a great video to show you the basics of HOW TO play them, and WOW you at the same time.  Hopefully, it inspires you to pick up a pair of spoons and try them.  It takes a bit of practice – keep trying – it is WORTH IT!

This guy is good, and not too much of a “showman” – (You wouldn’t believe all the YouTube videos that come up for playing the spoons!)

It is more difficult for a child to handle the spoons (although some children seem to be “naturally talented”), so while you are practicing on some spoons, include them in the music making a variety of ways:

  • Have your child use some spoons and tap them together, or use them to rake across a Cookie Cooling Rack (acts just like a washboard, only not as loud),or the ridges of a metal can, or a metal kitchen grater.
  • Pull out some pots and pans and provide a wooden spoon for music making.
  • Make a set of “homemade” musical spoons for them.  Use folded cardboard in between the handles to SEPARATE the two spoons, then add duct tape at the end of the spoon to hold the ends together.  The spoon parts should be about an inch apart, so when they are tapped on a hand or knee, they will “clink” together.  Then they can enjoy the activity without having to hold them correctly in their hands.
  • Purchase a set of Trophy Musical Spoons (just search online for the best deal – I like Musician’s Friend!)
  • SING, and play along with some of your favorite upbeat FOLK songs,  Old Suzanna,  Skip to My Lou, Camptown Races, Buffalo Gals, and a GREAT ONE for spoons “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad“.
  • Turn on some fun FOLK music to play along with – YOUR rhythms will be a lot better when playing along with theirs.  Actually any upbeat music will do, just play along and have some fun!  Every once in awhile, encourage your child to keep a steady beat – matching yours for a bit, then allow them to go a little rhythm crazy, as they do tend to do.  They are freely expressing themselves with the music, and that is important too.
  • Check out my other article on Front Porch Music, especially the Appalachian style.  I have found David Holt to be an excellent musician to watch, and to learn from.  And, he is an excellent resource to link to the ORIGINAL musicians from them thar hills.  That is his calling in life – he loves it, and he does it so well.

Time to go play some musical spoons., just 2 spoons, not these cheater kinds for little ones.    Will you join me?