Thanks to all my friends on the list who sent me many wonderful ideas on how to make musical instruments. Thought I would share them with everyone! Have fun!
********************************* YIS Kathy Dykstra
Castanadas (spelling .. those things the flamingo dancers use). Take four buttons .. the kind with holes all the way thru. Take some string elastic, and string it thru each button so that it can go over a finger/thumb. Put one on each pointy finger and one on each thumb and click away.
Take a #10 tin can (coffee can) and punch a hole in the bottom in the center. Knot some string so it doesn't come thru the hole and put a pencil on the other end. Put your foot on the can, using the pencil pull the string tight and strum away. The girls had a great time seeing how many different sounds their instrument can make by keeping the can on the ground or having one side up a little.
The other instruments they made were a kazoo with the toilet paper tube and a shaker with two paper bowls.
********** sent by Theresa Heple
You could make maracas. You need one light bulb per maraca. Apply 4-5 layers of paper mache to each light bulb. Let dry. Hit on a hard surface to break the light bulb inside of the paper mache. Paint or decorate as desired.
**********sent by Pat Troutt
Here is one idea I found.
Parts List for a Great Guitar
four large rubber bands
markers and crayons
What to Do
Ask your child if he or she knows what a guitar is. Then discuss the parts of a guitar and how it's used. Put out the shoe box, rubber bands, and paper-towel tube and let your child experiment with them. Together, talk about how you might make a guitar using these materials. Help your child tape the cover onto the shoe box. Then cut a five-inch hole in the center of the top and a two-inch hole on one end of the box. Ask your child to push the tube through the two-inch hole to make the guitar neck (to use as a handle). Then help her to carefully stretch the rubber bands around the box, from one end to the other (two on each side of the tube). Make sure they are stretched directly over the hole in the top. Put out construction paper, glue, markers, and crayons, and invite your child to decorate her guitar. Now she's ready to strum away!
More Ways to Make Music Together
Strike up the band. Help your child make other instruments that she can play along with her guitar. Use household items such as cans, small screws, and juice cartons to make a shaker and a drum. Or use your imaginations to make up your own instruments! Your child can decorate them to create a colorful band.
**********Sent by Jeanette West
Who hasn't blown across the lip of a half-empty pop bottle and marveled at the richness of the tone? As for what tone it was, however, that was anybody's guess. Well, no longer. We've calculated just how much water you need in eight 20-ounce pop bottles to create a major scale. Affix numbers to each bottle, 1 through 8 (or use different-colored stickers for younger kids), and jam away. Your first song? How about "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"?
TIP: You can sharpen your chops by employing a piece of flexible plastic tubing. Rather than try to move your mouth from bottle to bottle, hold one end of the tube in your mouth and move the other end from bottle to bottle.
**********Sent by Jeanette West
Flute... take a hollow reed, cut or drill holes in it, sounds nice and mellow
Drums.... take a hollow log, cut slots in side around bottom half, use sticks as drum sticks on top half, Stretch thin leather or rubberized material over a coffee can, use pencils (eraser ends) as drum sticks.
bass fiddle....... take a metal pail, add a mop handle and string a cord from the top of handle to the opposite edge of bottom. (You've seen this kind on TV like the Beverly Hillbillies) To prevent the "neck" from sliding around on the pail you might want to drill a small hole where the handle is supposed to be and put a screw into the bottom of the mop handle. NOTE, you pluck the string and change notes by tightening the cord by moving the mop handle (neck) to tighten or loosen the cord..... I hope this makes sense, not as hard as it seems.
Don't forget Kazoos and "comb horns" !
cigar-guitar.... Glue a "neck" on a cigar box, cut a hole in it and string with monofilament fish line..... Strum away.....
Pipe-a-phone...... (like a xylophone) made with different lengths of steel pipe resting on boards covered with felt.... use dowels with wooden balls glued on to hit. (Large wooden beads work well)
That's all I can think of off the top of my head........... [:-}
**********Mike Baird, SwampFoX, Leader of Junior 21 and Brownie 941
I love making instruments with girls. I usually just get a whole bunch of things together and let them go wild in making stuff. A few ideas are: different sizes of tin cans paper bags margarine tubs (drums, shakers, or guitars) shoe boxes egg cartons film containers straws paper towel tubes wax paper elastics balloons tape beads/seeds string sticks (for mallets, or for percussion instruments) etc.
A good little high pitched hand drum is the inside of packing or duct tape roll. You know, the cardboard circle. Stretch a balloon over one side, secure with an elastic and strike away.
With some big straws (McDonalds here in Canada have a great size) you can cut one end into a V shape, put between your two lips and buzz. You can put small holds along one side and make different pitches. Or you can put a slightly smaller straw inside to lengthen the tube.
A comb with wax paper wrapped around makes a cool buzzing harmonica.
Any sort of box, or open container can have various sizes of elastics wrapped around for a guitar.
A rain stick can be made with a long tube (paper towel tube works good, or a poster tube is usually a little stronger). Stick short straight pins, or even hammer in some small nails. Cover one end. Pour in some hard beads or seeds, different sizes and weights are good for variety, not too big though, has to fit through all the pins sticking through. Cover up the other end and slowly turn your stick over.
Hope these can help you. I have many more ideas at home if you need some more or any clarification please let me know. Enjoy your music making.
2nd Kingston Sparks
1st Fort Henry Pathfinders
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Hmm, why not bring the reference books to the girls and have them do the research and choose the songs they wish to learn? I think the experience would be more meaningful if they did the choosing. As to instruments: one idea, a steel drum. Use a 3# size coffee can turned upside down, have them using wood blocks hit with hard rubber mallets, make several "dents" into the can's bottom. And after they have put several in, "listen" to the musical notes the drum makes when hit (with the rubber mallet) . A mini version of the steel drums used in Caribbean. Different spots of the can create different vibrations which changes the note sounds. Rubber mallets can be borrowed from an auto body repairer, or look at your local hardware store also. Best wishes,
Lela C. Arnes
San Jacinto Council, Houston, Texas -- Master Trainer,
past Board Member, Thanks Badge recipient
1. plastic Easter eggs filled (ok a TBSP, not filled) with any variety of things. try diff stuff ! have everyone bring a sandwich bag filled with something different, like potluck!
2. paper towel tubes...stick with straight pins all over (hundreds of them) and fill with a little uncooked rice....close both ends...a rain stick ! you will need to cover the tube later to keep the pins in !
3. punch holes with a hammer and big nail into metal bottle tops and string on a wire coat hanger...loop it into a circle and shake.
4. try figuring out how to play a saw, or something with a violin bow 5. sand paper on blocks...do diff grits make a diff sound?
that's all I can think of...but
6. gather lots of leftover stuff and see what the girls come up with ! or do the potluck thing...and let them share...
**********sent by Cathy Purdy
Take a Y-shaped stick and string a wire (a tight string might work too) between the 2 ends of the fork. Have a bunch of metal washers on the wire, this makes a neat shaker with a different sound.
Use clay pots of different sizes - you can paint them to look prettier first, if you'd like. String them upside down on a cord going through the hole in the center of each pot, using a knot or a bead to hold each pot in place on the cord. Have the smallest pot at the bottom, then the next biggest, and so on (use 3 or 4 nesting sizes) and make a loop of cord at the top to serve as a holder. When you hold the top loop, the pots should hang down below each other like a tier of bells, so they can each be struck by your striker. To make the striker, push a wooden bead onto a dowel or pencil (use a small rubber band on the pencil inside the bead to help hold it in place). Hold the pots by the loop of cord and play by striking different pots with the striker. If you have made this with the smallest pot at the bottom it nests up nicely for storage.
Brownie books show how to make a kazoo from a short cardboard tube (all those leftover wrapping paper rolls can be cut into short lengths for this) a rubber band or tape, and a piece of waxed paper) It's described and illustrated under one of the music Try-its (Sounds of Music?), but basically all you do is punch a hole in the tube near one end (use a paper punch if you have one). Cover the other end with a square of smooth (it's important that it's unwrinkled) waxed paper and secure with the rubber band or tape. Play the kazoo by singing "dah dah dah" into it - it's very cool the way you can feel the vibration of the paper as you play.
A set of glasses filled with different heights of water and "tuned" to a scale makes a neat instrument. Play by tapping each glass with a spoon.
Of course there's also just blowing across the top of a bottle - gets that jug band sound.
My sister says that years ago at camp they used to make neat drums from coffee cans and pieces of inner tube. Remove the ends from the can and stretch a rubber inner tube piece over each end. Lace back & forth between the end covers all around to hold the covers in place. She didn't recall what they used for lacing, but I imagine that plastic lace would be great). Make a beater similar to the one for the clay pot chimes.
A while back somebody posted how to make pan pipes using McDonalds straws. I haven't tried that one yet, but it sounded very intriguing, so I saved it somewhere. I can dig up the instructions if you're interested.
Now for the folk songs from 5 countries, 3 continents; here are some ideas I pulled from some GS songbooks I have: Kookaburra or Waltzing Matilda (Australia), A Ram Sam Sam (Morocco), Zum Gali Gali (Israel), Ash Grove (Wales), Suitors (Brazil), Kum Ba Ya (Africa - I don't know what country though), Song Without Words (Germany), and Allouette (Canada)
GS always tried to have songs from around the world in its songbooks. I have the music for them if you need it. (and I have a scanner that we just got for Christmas!)
Good luck with the badge!
**********Sent by Sallie Zeil from VA Beach, VA
You can make really cheap inexpensive tambourines with tin pie plates, paper clips, some ribbon scraps, and just a few jingle bells for each girl. Punch Holes around the rim, wiggle in the paper clips, at a bell or two and Viola! We also took felt and sewed a few bells on a strip big enough to fit around the girls ankles, sewed on 2 strips of scrap ribbon and made ankle bells, as the girls danced the bells kept tune. Take an old tissue box and put a few rubber bands around it and you have a simple guitar to play, the wider or narrower the band, you get different sounds when plucked. We had a family come in that plays the dulcimer, banjo, and old time instrument and they let the girls play and sing along with them at one of our meetings, after the girls had constructed their instruments of course, we had a blast
**********sent by Alex from Midland Michigan
Our troop taught music at Twilight Camp this summer. We had the Jrs make a pan pipe made out of PVC piping, wood slats, twine, and modeling clay.
The PVC is cut in varying lengths. You don't have to worry about accuracy at this stage because you tune them later. We used 4 lengths per pipe, but you can make them larger. Sand the rough edges of at least one end of each pipe.
Line the pipes, small to large, between two slats, approx dimensions, 1/4"x1"xlength need to hold pipes. Lash tightly in place. The smooth ends should be even at the top.
Put a lump of modeling clay in the bottom of each pipe. (Bottom should be completely closed.)
The pipe is played by blowing across the top, like a flute. Each length in the pipe is tuned by pushing the clay up (raises tone) or pulling it out (lowers tone).
**********sent by Jamie Barnaby
Here is a musical instrument they didn't mention that is very cheap (free) and easy. Go to the grocery store and ask for the Brown paper bags. Fan fold the bag then hold one end and either strum it or hit your hand with it or strum it on different items in the area. We did this at Macy in a songleaders course and some of the ladies got very good with it. You should have heard the rendition of Suitors and La Bamba that we did.
********** sent by Laurie Schultz
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