This past weekend, KID Museum had a special workshop that allowed kids to explore the foundational elements of both woodshop and music by creating their very own string instrument. Led by our resident sound artist Layne, and KID apprentice Antonio, participants created the classic American single-stringed diddley bow. Traditionally found in the rural South, the diddley bow brings engineering and art together to create both a powerful learning tool and a highly enjoyable means of entertainment.
The string instrument workshop enabled the kids to get hands-on woodworking experience–they sawed and hammered to construct their instruments. The importance of woodshop safety was stressed, and the children themselves went out of their way to ensure their fellow participants (and the parents in attendance) were equipped with the proper safety gear.
Workshop participants explored how a string instrument produces sound. Layne demonstrated how a plethora of sounds could be achieved, simply by manipulating string length and tension. At one point during the workshop, one of the kids enthusiastically noted “how many notes [he] could make with just one string!”
The workshop ended with a jam session, highlighting the great sound of the participants’ newly-constructed diddley bows.