Covington-Harper ES students using pool noodles during a music lesson

The sounds of upbeat music can be heard coming from the music room at Covington-Harper Elementary School. "Alright, here were go. Drumroll! Tap, tap. Floor, floor." It's a drum lesson lead by music teacher, Jennifer Nichols, but there is no loud banging on drum sets. In-person students are standing and swaying to the music as they tap a chair and the floor with pool noodles, while their virtual classmates are seen on a computer screen tapping desks and tables with paper towel rolls, rolled up pieces of paper, and some even have pool noodles at home.

Nichols saw teachers online presenting a lesson about drums, but they used desks in classrooms. Because there are no desks in her classroom, she adapted the lesson, and had her students using chairs. Pool noodles, which are inexpensive and can be easily disinfected between classes, make great drumsticks.

The lesson works well in the concurrent learning setting too. Virtual students were easily able to find items around their house to use as drumsticks.

The activity provided lessons on music fundamentals such as steady beat, rhythm, ensemble performance, percussion instruments, and musical form.

"For me, this learning activity was more about teaching them they can create, perform, experience, and enjoy music using nontraditional instruments," Nichols explained.

The lesson received positive feedback from students. A first grade student said, "I liked drumming because it lifted my spirits," while a fifth-grade student shared, "I needed that."

Nichols was happy with the student response. She explained, "With so many limitations lately, it is a nice reminder that music is always there for us. Music in Our Schools Month is a great time to celebrate the power of music; how music connects us, how music teaches us about each other, how music comforts us, and how music gives us an opportunity to express ourselves."