Making Instruments – Do Try This at Home!

If your child or children are enrolled in group lessons, you know they play many percussion instruments throughout each class. So if you are doing online lessons, your teacher may be adapting activities so that the instruments are not as crucial. But did you know you can have fun making a multitude of musical instruments at home?

A drum is one of the easiest- just hold onto (or empty out) a rolled oats container. Keep the lid, and decorate as you would like. And presto, you have a decent drum! A coffee can works well, too, or get fancy with some fabric as this article from Artists Helping Teachers demonstrates! If you need a drum on the fly, though, a wooden salad bowl played with wooden spoons works quite well!

Who remembers playing a kazoo as a kid? Well, if you take the cardboard tubes from those precious rolls of bathroom tissue, wrap wax paper around one end, fasten it down with a rubber band, and put one hole in the tube, you are set! Sing into the open end and you’ll get the buzzy kazoo sound! Decorations are optional, but stickers work well, as does Washi tape!

If you want to add a Spanish flair to your home band, how about a pair of Castanets? Just hold on to two metal caps from juice bottles, then cut out a rectangle of cardboard big enough for both caps to be attached to it with hot glue. Fold the cardboard in the middle so the caps meet — and make a “clack” sound! (Did you know “clackers” is another name for castanets?)

Maybe you are looking for more of a challenge- for your older children (or yourself)? Look no further than the Glass Harp! You may remember doing this at your grandmother’s house when the dinner went a little long for your taste… and you started tracing the top of your water glass with your finger until it made a lovely whistle sound! Or was that just our family? Surely not! Try a few glasses, fill them with different levels of water to allow for a variety of tones. See if you can create a song- maybe even play a duet. To give you motivation, I invite you to check out Pachelbel’s Canon in D, performed on, you guessed it – the Glass Harp!

I officially invite any CYM family to create a performance using any of these suggestions! Please send us a video of your performance and fun along the way! And for sure, share your instrumental creations in your next online lesson!

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