We started to learn how to read rhythms by playing two instruments that the students are experts at: snapping and clapping. I overheard one student say to another, "Which do you think sounds more lovely?" as she began writing her composition. I had the idea to bring in more lovely tones by making a jug band. I went to my local supermarket and purchased a Mexican soda called Jarritos.
One of my pet peeves is that prizes are always given to the fastest student or the smartest student. It is always predictable who will win. Sometimes because of this, students give up. In order to prevent that, I picked up everyone's warm up and then shuffled them and drew from the pile. The winner won a Jarritos soda. Their duty was to drink the soda and tell me if the tone produced when they blew on top was lovely. Sure enough, it was.
Now we could add more variety of sounds to our band: snaps, claps, and the different tones produced by bottles. This opens up the discussion to talk about tuning, dissonance, and frequencies without intimidating the students with learning an instrument.
Here is a short video about a jug band. The possibilities are endless!