Tag Archives: making instruments

Making Music- And We Do Mean Making It!

Looking for a rainy (all right, possibly still snowy!) day project for you and your child? How about building a band? What better way to explore sound, be creative, build your instrument collection, and spend quality time on a budget with your child than trying some of these wonderful suggestions from the National Network for Child Care out of Colorado State University! Then break out your Kindermusik home CD’s and jingle, tap, shake, and play in a family jam!

Drums

o Tape the top securely on an oatmeal box, or a margarine container.
o Cut the ends off a large can, cover both ends with rubber inner tubing and lace the tubing together, or use a plastic snap-on lid on each end.
o The end of any cylinder-shaped container can be covered with construction paper or fabric scraps.
o Try any surface that is available. Compare the differences in the sounds they make.
o Drumsticks can be your hands, spoons, pencils, dowels, or sticks. You may want to wrap one end of the dowel or stick with cloth, or tie cotton on it to make a different sound.

Tambourines

o Remove corks from bottle caps. Flatten the caps, and punch holes in them. Make sure there are no sharp edges. Tie caps to the edges of aluminum pie pans or paper plates.
o Lace two paper plates together and tie small bells to the edges.
o Put bottlecaps, buttons, or stones in an aluminum pie pan. Place another pie pan face-down over it. Punch evenly spaced holes around the rim and lace together tightly.

Shakers

o Use film containers, plastic eggs, baking powder cans, oatmeal boxes, or boxes with lids. Experiment with different sounds by putting dry beans, macaroni, rice, buttons, stones, etc., in them. Tape together securely. Little children like to put things in their mouths, so be sure they can not get to the contents of the shaker.
o Staple paper plates together with something that rattles inside. Use fairly large objects inside, and place the staples very close together so the contents will not fall out. Place tape over staples, or whip edges with yarn after holes are punched. Attach tie strings for musical hats.

Rhythm Sticks

o Use dowel rods or bamboo fishing poles. Cut them 12 to 15 inches long. Paint or shellac gives them a different sound.
o Chopsticks, spoons, or rungs from old chairs can be used.

Swish or Sandpaper Blocks

o Glue sandpaper to one side of 2-by 2-by 1-inch wooden blocks, rough side up. Rub sandpapered sides of the two blocks together for sound effects. Be sure the blocks are smooth and do not have splinters.

Cymbals and Bells

o Make cymbals from jar lids, saucepan covers or aluminum plates. A spool may be attached as a handle.
o Finger cymbals can be made by punching two holes in the center of two matching jar lids, large buttons or bottle caps. Fold a fat rubber band in half and push each end through the holes. Put your thumb and forefinger through the loops and clack away.
o Sew small sleigh bells to elastic and make a wrist band of bells.

Kazoos and Horns

o Tape waxed paper over one end of a cardboard tube (from paper towels or toilet paper). Hum into the open end with your mouth open a little. This may take a little practice. A different sound is made if you make three holes in the tube with a pencil. The waxed paper can be held in place with a rubber band.
o Use different sized empty soda bottles and blow across the mouth of the bottle. Different sizes give different tones.

Banjos and Guitars

o Cut a large hole in the middle of a shoe box lid and a piece out of the end of the lid and box. Cut slit in cardboard tube, and fit into place. Stretch rubber bands around the box. Space them far enough apart to get your fingers between them. Slide a pencil or short piece of cardboard tube under them. “Tune” the banjo by using different sized rubber bands. Stretch rubber bands of different sizes around the partially opened box. How can you make the sound change?

Water Chimes

o Put water in eight glasses. Start with an almost full glass on the left, and end with a small amount of water in the eighth glass. The tone of the full glass will be deep and clear. Add or pour water from the other glasses until you have the eight musical notes of a scale. Tap the glasses gently with a spoon, a pencil, or your fingernail. If you want a short note, put your finger on the rim of the glass, and the sound will stop.
o Fill a number of glass containers with different amounts of water. By carefully striking the sides of the containers with different utensils, they will ring out with varying degrees of sound.

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