15 Great Boomwhackers Songs To Use Right Now! (2022)

boomwhackers songs

Boomwhackers are one of the best (and cheapest) instruments for use in Elementary Music classrooms. 

These colorful and pitched tubes are an awesome way to teach: 

  • Steady beat
  • Rhythm
  • Melody
  • Beginning chords
  • And much more! 

But just having them doesn’t make a lesson. You need songs to play them with. 

This is why I went through my resources and experiences for the past 10+ years to develop this list of 15 boomwhacker songs to use in your music classroom right now!

  1. Johnny Works With One Hammer
  2. Pitter Patter
  3. Ickle Ockle Blue Bottle
  4. Bow Wow Wow
  5. Wake Up, You Lazy Bones
  6. The Wheels On The Bus
  7. We Don’t Talk About Bruno
  8. Down By The Bay
  9. De Colores
  10. The Lion Sleeps Tonight
  11. Super Mario
  12. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  13. London Bridge Is Falling Down
  14. Ghostbusters
  15. Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)

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5 Songs For Keeping A Steady Beat or Rhythm Ostinato With

The first way I use boomwhackers is as a tool for practicing rhythm and steady beat. 

It’s another instrument to replace a drum, rhythm sticks, or other egg shakers. 

Yeah, it kind of misses out on the whole pitched aspect of the instrument, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

And it’s also a great time to safely cover your classroom procedures for playing this instrument. 

I often suggest: 

  • Playing them together (if they have two)
  • Tapping one on their hand like they’re clapping
  •  Patting one or both on the floor
  • Patting one on each student’s shoe

Warning! As plastic tubes, these don’t have great durability. Ensure your students don’t slam them, or they will crumple and eventually break. 

Johhny Works With One Hammer

This song is my go-to for a steady beat. 

It’s a fun additive song and needs no introduction. 

Further Reading: List of additive songs for music class

With boomwhackers, I have students add different colors of boomwhackers until we have the whole pentatonic scale covered. 

Pitter Patter

Here’s a steady beat song perfect for younger kids. 

With this one, I also like to have students play the rhythm of the words instead of just the steady beat. 

This is a great precursor or practice for differentiating between rhythm and steady beat. 

Ickle Ockle Blue Bottle

ickle ockle sheet music

I love movement games, and Ickle Ockle is one of my faves. 

Not only does it prepare students with a strong steady beat, but it also prepares them for understanding quarter notes, eighth notes, and quarter rests. 

But on top of this, you’ll also be making them aware of songs with sol, mi, la, and do. 

Yes, you bet this one comes back with boomwhackers when it’s time to play some melodies! 

In terms of beat and rhythm, I’ll hand out the do, mi, sol tubes of whatever key you decide to sing it in. 

I like to use a rhythm ostinato here too. It goes like this: 

Fishes in the sea. (rest)

The rhythm would be “titi titi ta rest” or “paired eighth notes + paired eighth notes + quarter note + quarter rest.”

Bow Wow Wow

bow wow wow sheet music

The kids love to play this song and make different dog noises. 

For boomwhackers, this is a perfect time to practice quarter rests with big dramatic rest gestures

Wake Up, You Lazy Bones

I love changing tempi in music. 

It’s one of the best ways to engage students in repeating folk songs for a deeper understanding of musical concepts. 

But this song already has it built in! 

Check out the whole Wake Up, You Lazy Bones song and game here at the link. 

Save time with these 60 FREE Music Resources to use in your room right away!

Stop searching the whole internet to find good activities. I’ll help you cut to the chase with my favorite 60 FREE resources.

5 Songs For Playing Boomwhackers As Chords

Chords are the place I find boomwhackers to be the most useful for older kids. 

Sure, we can play melodies with them too, but it becomes much tougher. 

On the other hand, chords are shown really well through the colors of these instruments. 

Here are a few varying difficulties to check out. 

The Wheels On The Bus

It stays pretty simple here with this one. We’re only talking about two chords, but even in today’s age of little singing done at home, most kids still know this one. 

We Don’t Talk About Bruno

I don’t know how long this song will stay relevant, but I’m going to lean into it while I still can! 

Here’s a fun play-along that may be advanced for some of your students, but I bet the engagement factor will help them find the grit to learn it to some degree. 

Down By The Bay

I LOVE Down By The Bay. 

I remember my Grandma singing this to me when I was little, and I’ve taught it ever since. 

This song uses three chords, and if you taught this in second grade, it makes a great connection with what they’ve done before when you bring it back to talk about chords.

Check out the chords and lyrics here.

De Colores

De Colores is a beautiful Hispanic song that captures kids’ attention despite being fairly slow. 

The chords change slowly, so it’s not a big deal to follow this play-along video, even though it’s meant for the ukulele. 

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

I’ve loved using this song to teach chords ever since my Music Education Professor, Dr. Alan Gumm, had us teach it to a middle school choir during a classroom visit. 

It’s amazing how quickly this song gets people to sing and understand chords a little better. 

The Lion Sleep Tonight transfers well to boomwhackers, and this video does a great job of modeling how you may want to teach the chords as groups instead of getting too much into the nitty gritty of chord structures at first. 

5 Songs For Playing Boomwhackers As Melody

Melody and advanced licks are where viral videos and such come in. 

In reality, these are pretty tough to do, but with so many play-along videos, many of the harder ones become much more accessible. 

Super Mario

This one doesn’t line up perfectly, but it does a pretty good job of outlining the main melody without getting too tricky with the rhythms. 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

image twinkle twinkle notation

This simple melody is an ideal tune for a first experience with the challenges of playing the melody with boomwhackers. 

It’s something everyone knows, and the melody is largely slow. 

London Bridge Is Falling Down

This one is just like Twinkle Twinkle, but it’s a little bit tougher in terms of rhythm. 

This would make a good second or third experience with melody on the boomwhackers. 

Ghostbusters

The Ghostbusters theme song is still one that most kids know.

From the reboot to the simply catch song, it’s great all around! 

This play-along is awesome. 

It features a bass line, chords, AND a melody. 

This is beyond basic music theory for elementary. 

You’ll be able to teach music theory elements easily if you keep doing stuff like this! 

This gives your students a chance to try everything! 

It also allows you to place students where they’ll be the most successful. 

Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)

I worked at a middle school semi-honor’s band camp last summer, and one of the visiting groups they had come in was a steel drum group. 

One of the songs they played was this one: The Banana Boat Song. 

I didn’t think many kids would know it. Instead, almost the whole camp of 200 students burst out into song. 

Why? Apparently, the movie Beetlejuice is back in popularity for its edgy themes. 

This surprised me a bit, but you know what? I’m gonna take advantage of my students’ interests wherever I can. 

Not at all to my surprise, there was a great boomwhacker play-along I’m looking forward to trying. I hope you do too! 

Save time with these 60 FREE Music Resources to use in your room right away!

Stop searching the whole internet to find good activities. I’ll help you cut to the chase with my favorite 60 FREE resources.

Zach VanderGraaff

Zach VanderGraaff is a K-5 music teacher in Michigan with 12 years of experience. He's the President of the Michigan Kodaly Educators and founder of the Dynamic Music Room.

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