Hit it! (boomwhacker challenge)

In this game the challenge is to perform a well-known children’s song using boomwhackers. The only information that is being provided, is the title of the song (of which the tune  is presumed to be known by ear) and the starting note. Using a set of tuned (but unmarked) boomwhackers a group of pupils have to figure out the order of the notes (boomwhackers) to play the tune of the song. The players don’t have access to sheet music with the notes, neither are they given any assistance. The players themselves work out a way to divide responsibilities and roles within the game.



In the video below 3 girls are challenged to play a seasonal festive children’s song (Dutch title: ‘Daar wordt aan de deur geklopt’). The melody is that of an old song from the 17th century Oh du lieber Augustin, attributed to Johann Nepomuk Hummel. Playing the tune correctly, results in a numerical code to open the padlock of folder containing a prize. The prize was in this instance a clue to proceed in the game, as this challenge was part of a series of musical challenges.



The principle in this game is derived from a technique called hocket (or hoquet), which was used primarily in vocal and choral music of the 13th and early 14th centuries. Hocket technique typically implied sharing a vocal on the vowels or having a sequence of notes spliced between instruments or vocals with certain notes in the melody being the moments of exchange. In medieval practice of hocket, a single melody is shared between two (or occasionally more) voices such that alternately one voice sounds while the other rests. This technique can of course also be used with pupils who have basic or more advanced skills on some musical instrument, sharing the melody over different instruments, or even by multiple players sharing a single instrument like a piano. Hocketing is one of the many examples to induce playful development by adding obstacles.

Sidenote: the term hocket is an onomatopeic word and is originally derived from the French word hoquet (also hocquet, hoket, or ocquet), meaning “a shock, sudden interruption, hitch, hiccup”. The term was ‘Latinized’ as hoquetus, (h)oketus, and (h)ochetus.