Music, Family & Lots of Fun: Playing Music with Spoons!


Our Kindermusik classes in July have been full of silly ways to have fun with music, especially folk music. Making music with things like old-fashioned washboards, ordinary wood saws and a pair of table spoons can have surprising and wonderful results.

My friend Pan, studied spoon playing while traveling all along the British Isles and he is incredible. 

Here is a spoon-playing video of one of his performances at Sam's Barbecue Restaurant in San Jose, CA.

Pan has his special silver spoons that he carries in his front pocket at all times. They are not designed particularly for playing music but they fit his hands perfectly and they sound sweet. Pan says they work fine for eating ice cream as well!

If you want to hear Pan playing spoons in person, try eating at Sam's Barbecue on the first or third Wednesdays of the month when Sidesaddle and Co. play Bluegrass music there. 
That's my husband, Glenn, playing guitar!

You can try playing spoons in your own kitchen at home. For children and beginners, tape the handle ends of the spoons together so that you can simply focus on tapping the spoons together and you don't have to worry about how to grip them. Place the spoons so that the curved parts (convex curve) touch and can be tapped together. Watch the video to see how Pan uses his other hand to bounce the spoons to the rhythm. Yes, he does have some seriously fancy moves!

As for saw playing---I have only seen this performed at the "Lucy Opry" just outside of Memphis where I grew up. This type of music takes lots of practice and is definitely not recommended for children to try. However, you may have an old-fashioned washboard around your house (they can also be found in hardware stores) and this "instrument" is fairly safe and easy to play.

We played one in class this week: just hold it upright in your lap and play with alternating hands using your finger nails to make a rhythmical scraping sound. Professional washboard players wear finger picks and in the old days players wore thimbles on the fingers!

Washboards are a fantastic part of the folk music from the Bayou regions of the South. Here is another video for listening to Cajun style washboard playing. Hope you enjoy!

Making music is just plain fun!  No telling what else you may find to play music with in your home.

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