About Home-made Instruments
Instruments can be very simple to make. Don’t be afraid to try. Here are some starter ideas:
1. Put unpopped popcorn kernels, dried beans, dried peas, jelly beans, pebbles, little shells, nuts and bolts, any sort of beads, macaroni…..Basically, PUT ANYTHING into SOMETHING, then cover up any holes or sharp edges,and shake!! Something@ could be: old soda cans, other cans, two pie plates, two paper plates, toy Easter egg-shells….just make sure to prevent choking on small bits!
2. BANG on ANYTHING which may include: boxes, pans, clean little garbage cans,oatmeal containers, plastic cups, pretty much anything that could contain something else.
3. DRUM STICKS can be fashioned out of: plastic straws, plastic spoons, wooden spoons, dowel, spatulas. Just remember to keep it safe for children.
4. Many kinds of BELLS can be found at CRAFT STORES. Tie on a string or fasten with elastic.
5. Party stores often sell inexpensive instruments and sound makers. We use “knock-knocks” at my school ie: wooden eggs from a craft store to banged together. Pier One sells a nice wooden placemat (with many hollow bamboo-like sticks tied together) that we tap and rub with pencils like an old-fashioned “washboard.” Walk around such stores tapping on things or banging things together. Same thing with Home Depot. (Just think, you’ll give people something good to talk about at the dinner table. )
6. Kazoos can be made out of paper towel holders, rubber bands, and wax paper (best with a few pin pricks in it.) I’ve heard that juice boxes can be played too. That may be a joke however. ….
7. Hang different sized flower pots for a a xylophone@ effect. Make tuna cans Achild safe@ and string these together. PVP pipes can sound fantastic when struck with certain mallets.
8. Make cheap rhythm sticks out of sanded down wooden dowels. Foam or wooden Childrens blocks also work. We use pencils as sticks in my school. Cheap and if you lose them, it’s no big deal. Speaking thereof: plastic spoon tops make great pics. Try it for yourself: cheap, easy to locate when dropped and ergonomically shaped to the thumb.
9. Any bumpy or rough surface can be child-proofed and rubbed with a wooden spoon to create a guiro or musical-fish effect. Think of the old washboard. Look around!
10. In general, you can do well by visiting the toy box, home improvement stores, craft stores, party stores, and dollar stores.
Go tap and shake some objects in a new way. You may look a tad askew but tell people you’re just thinking out of the box. Which reminds me of my newest use of dollar store pails: they make wonderful vocal and tactile feedback devices. I use them with kids who need to discover and explore their voice as a precursor to speech. When they make any sound into the pail, they will hear it at a very magnified level and get a lot of result for a “little” effort. Not only will they hear their vocalizations, they will feel them through their fingertips. Apparently, a turned-upside down pail makes a great music therapy device.
This will be very important with the economy the way it is. (Just joshing, but try the pail!)