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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Boomwhacker Storage

I love using Boomwhackers in my elementary music classes! Not only are they fun and accessible for even the youngest students to play, but they are a really helpful tool for exploring some key musical concepts that make them useful well into the upper grades. You can see some of my favorite ways to use them in class in this post, but today I'm kicking things off by addressing the most common setback for teachers: organizing and storing them so they're not a pile of plastic hot mess!

If you don't have a good way of organizing Boomwhackers, they can quickly become a major problem. They're too large to fit into nice neat bins, especially the longer ones, and they topple over easily. If you search the internet for Boomwhacker storage ideas you'll come up with some great ideas: some of my favorites include this idea to use plastic shoe organizers, this idea using plastic bag storage containers, and this idea using cardboard magazine holders. But for me, I have found hanging them on the wall with this type of strong velcro very effective (and fun to look at)!

I always get questions about my wall-hanging Boomwhackers when I share pictures of my classroom, so let me start by answering those frequently asked questions:
  • Yes, they have held up well. I've had mine up for 6 years and have never replaced any velcro.
  • No, the velcro does not affect the sound of the instrument. I tell students to hold the velcro side in their hand and strike the other side on the floor/hand/whatever they're using. The only time we can't do this is when we're using octavator caps, which don't fit over the velcro- then I just have them tap the velcro side and it still sounds fine.
  • You want to make sure to put the soft side on the instruments and the scratchy side on the wall so that they can hold the velcro without getting scratched.
Besides being aesthetically pleasing and keeping the instruments from being a hot mess, I like having them on the wall this way because I often use them with small groups and I like having each octave set separated so I can tell each group to get the ones they need from one row, and they can clearly see the notes next to each other in order when they refer to them for musical concepts like solfege, chord functionality, etc. I've seen many other teachers hang them on the wall with all the same notes next to each other, but I think having one of each note together makes it easier for the ways I use them most. It also makes it easier to get out one set to use in a center etc by taking all of the ones in one row rather than having to go through and collect one of each note.

If I had all the chromatics and extended octaves (bass / treble) and such (which I don't), I would not keep them together with the others because I wouldn't want to confuse my students when they're using as a tool to understand a concept- I would store them in one of the other methods I mentioned above off to the side, and pull them out when we needed them for a specific activity.

I hope this helps you get your Boomwhackers in order so that they can be more of an asset and less of a headache for your classroom! Next week I'll be sharing tons of ways I like to use them to meaningfully and effectively teach specific musical concepts, so stay tuned, and if you have your own favorite ways to use them in your lessons I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!


  1. This is so perfect! I think it's so important to store them this way because it also helps the students see that when the notes go "up" the pipes are also going "up" even though they're getting bigger. Thank you!

    1. Yes absolutely! Just having them displayed this way has come in handy on multiple occasions as a teaching tool!