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Music connects us all, and one of its many joys is that it can be made with virtually anything! What will it be: Wooden spoons on a bowl? Metal spoons clanking against one another? Or maybe just shaking a box of rice? As you can see, the sky is the limit!
However, if you want to take your and your grandchild’s musical experience to the next level, I recommend you make one (or all!) of these fun DIY instruments:
1. Water-filled glass xylophone
- A set of identical glasses or jars.
- A wooden or metal spoon as a mallet.
- Line up the glasses or jars in a row.
- Fill each glass with different amounts of water. (The more water in a glass, the lower the pitch will be.)
- Gently strike each glass with the mallet and adjust the water levels until you achieve the desired pitches.
- Experiment with melodies by tapping the glasses in sequence!
2. Bean-filled can shaker
- An empty soda can or small container with a lid.
- Dried beans, rice, or small pebbles.
- Tape (if using a container without a secure lid).
- Fill the can or container about one-third full with your chosen filler (beans, rice, etc.).
- Close the container. If using a container without a secure lid, tape the lid in place to prevent spillage.
- Shake to the rhythm! Each filler produces a different sound, so try them all and see which one you prefer.
3. Elastic band guitar
- A shoebox.
- Rubber bands of various sizes.
- Remove the lid from the shoebox.
- Stretch several rubber bands around the shoebox so they lie flat against the open side.
- Pluck the rubber bands to produce sounds. (Each band will have a different pitch depending on its thickness and tension.)
4. Tube drums
- Empty cardboard tubes from paper towels or toilet paper rolls.
- Wax paper or balloons.
- Rubber bands.
- Cover one end of the cardboard tube with wax paper or an unstretched piece of balloon.
- Secure the cover with a rubber band.
- Tap on the covered end with your hands to produce drum-like sounds.
5. Spoon clappers
- Two wooden spoons.
- Simply take the spoons by their handles.
- Clap the flat parts of the spoons together. Please note that varying the speed and force will create different rhythms and volumes!
6. Pasta box guiro
- An empty pasta box (preferably one made of thin cardboard).
- Uncooked rice or pasta inside.
- A stick or the handle of a spoon.
- Close the box and ensure that there’s a little pasta or rice inside.
- Use the stick or spoon handle to rub against the corrugated side of the box to produce a ratcheting sound. (The pasta or rice inside will add a shaking sound to it, making it multi-instrumental.)
7. Pan flute
- Straws in various lengths (you can also cut them to achieve different lengths).
- Line up the straws from longest to shortest to create a range of pitches.
- Tape them together side by side, ensuring the tops are aligned.
- Blow across the top of each straw to produce a sound. Like other homemade instruments, different lengths will provide different pitches, allowing for a melodic tune.
Once you’ve made these instruments, combine them with the previous ones to form a complete homemade orchestra. Fun, right? The beauty of these instruments is that they can be crafted with materials easily found around the house, and they offer endless fun and musical exploration for both grandmas and grandkids alike. Happy jamming!