Archives for January 2013


Screen shot 2012-12-13 at 1.47.19 PMThe charango is a small guitar-like instrument made from an armadillo shell. It has 10 strings (5 double strings) and is of Andean origin (i.e. South America, specifically the Andean mountains of Peru). The charango is played by strumming finger tips across the strings while placing various finger placements on the fret board.


Performance Video Sample

How a charango is played

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Cajon (box drum)

CajonThe cajon (pronounced “kah-hôn”) is native to Peru. It is a box-like wooden percussion instrument with a small circular hole in the back of the drum. The player sits on the drum and plays rhythms on the drum sides with both finger tips and palm of hands.


Performance Demonstration

Here is a video by famous percussionist, Alex Acuna, demonstrating how to play the cajon.

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Extended resources

How to make a cajon (in English)

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In English – <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>


¿Cómo hacer un cajón peruano? (Espanol)

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quenaThe quena (pronounced “kay-nah”) is a single straight wooden flute that uses a divot in the end of the flute to create its unique sound. It is also known as the “ancient flute of the Incas” (Slominsky, 1945, p. 12).


Extended Learning

How to build a quena


How the Quena Flute is Made (English)

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SymbolSmash Teaches Kids All About Classical Music

See on Scoop.itiPad apps for music

Indeed, while Visua Musio is a lovely iPad app that lets kids make experimental songs with shapes, another little nugget has hit our radar, designed to teach young kids all about classical music. SymbolSmash for iPad sells …

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Pan Flutes

Peruvian MusiciansThe pan flute is an instrument of many graduated wooden flutes tied together, usually with brightly colored, woven string. Pan flutes can be made in various sizes. Their wooden tubes are typically ordered from smallest to largest so that the smallest tube is on the left side of the performer.

The smallest tube sounds the highest pitch while the largest tube sounds the lowest pitch. Tubes can also be stacked in rows to enable more pitches in a convenient hand-held size.

Pan flutes are often used in in the music of Peru.


Song: El Condor Pasa (The Condor Happens By)

Video Overview: This is a traditional song of Peru and a great audio demonstration for students new to this type of music .  The beginning of the song opens with an open section, or free play, on the bass pan pipe (use of “flutter tongue”) and shaker. The lead pan pipe then comes in with an improvised melody along with the bass pipe and shaker. The charango begins to play at 0:30. A basic drum beat starts at 1:05 on a small bongo drum and leads into the full melody on pan pipe and all instruments playing at 1:08.

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