This activity (can be called numerous things – hula hoop conductor, guest conductor, let’s play conductor) involves hula hoops, instruments and a lot of laughs! Also, it gives students a chance to be the conductor and lead the class… and a chance for students to explore an instrument, or two, or three!
Step One: Introduce/reinforce the musical term composer. Instead of a baton to tell musicians when to play, the hula hoop will tell your students when to play! Practice with students clapping or singing.
Step Two: Introduce an instrument, pass them out…
Step Three: Hula hoop away!
The general idea is that when the teacher or a student is inside the hula hoop (laying on the floor), students are allowed to improvise and play on their instrument. If the conductor steps out of the hula hoop, all music stops. To increase the difficulty of the activity, multiple hula hoops can be used and each represents a different category, for example: one hoop represents wood instruments and one is metal. Students playing wood instruments can only play when a foot or two… or another body part… is in that hula hoop! This activity allows students to have some free play on the instruments to explore the sounds and requires them to watch and pay close attention to the conductor to determine when to play.
You also increase the difficulty by varying the energy level of the movements in and out of the hula hoop. The conductor can suggest how the sound should be created. For example: a big jump into the hula hoop would produce a loud, heavy sound and a light toe tap in the hoop would produce a soft, quiet sound. When the conductor jumps out of the hoop, the class is silent.