Stuck at home? Let’s make the most of it!

Let’s make the most of staying at home. 

It’s time to strike up the band in this week’s Make it! DIY. But first, you’ll have to make your own instruments. Create string and wind instruments and other noisemakers from household items, and then use online software to make your own recorded track. Let’s make some noise! 

Our live, interactive Make it! Summer Camps are filling up fast! Don’t get left out in the cold…er, heat.  

Ready. Set. Make it.

Music Makers

1. DIY Drum Kit

Making a drum at home is easier than you think! Using anything from a tin can to a trash can, you can experiment with sound and percussion and have your own unique jam session.

Suggested Materials:
– Tin can, coffee can or other cylindrical container
– Balloon
– Scissors
– Rubber band
– Optional: Wooden sticks for playing (pencils work!), packing tape, beans or small pebbles

Tips and Thoughts
– Did you know that all sound comes from vibration? Put a drop of water on the top of your drum to see the vibration made when its played
– How does your drum sound different when you play it with your hands versus a wooden stick? Why do you think that is?
– Try making two drums of different sizes or different materials and comparing the sound! How can you create a beat using both sounds?

Potential Resources
Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written Instructions

2. Creative Noise Makers

There are so many ways to create great noise makers that support any music making. Our favorites are maracas, rain sticks and tambourines because not only do they create a great background jingle, but they are also fun to make. Check out the tutorials below, or create your own noisemaker!

Suggested Materials:

For Maracas

  • Old Egg Carton
  • Dry beans, rice, or anything that makes noise
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • For Rainsticks
  • Aluminum foil
  • Toilet paper tube

For Tambourines

  • Paper plates
  • String
  • Jingles
  • Hole puncher

Tips and Thoughts
– Try testing out different materials inside your shaker until you get the sound you want. How do beans sound different from rice?
– What else can you use to make noise inside the shaker?
– What kind of beats can you make using your shakers?
– Listen for sounds of shakers in the background of music. How does it add to the sound of the song?

Potential Resources:
Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written Instructions

Take this challenge to the next level: Make a Tambourine.

3. Upcycled String Instruments

Ever wanted to play guitar or banjo? Now you can with these homemade string instruments, made from upcycled materials around your home. String instruments like a guitar or bass use a vibration of a string and the echo of a hollow area behind the string to make sounds. Discover how different vibrations of these strings can make different notes.

Suggested Materials:
– Cereal box, shoe box or tissue box
– Scissors
– Rubber bands, preferably of different thickness or size
– Pencil
– Aluminum Jar or bottle lids
– tape

Tips and Thoughts
– Get the different rubber bands to make different notes by stretching them tighter or looser across the box.
– Think about a real guitar. How does the guitar player make different notes on their guitar? How can you recreate that on your guitar?
– Make sure there is a hole in the box behind the string so that the sound is louder
– How do guitars or banjos made from boxes of different sizes or materials compare in sound?

Potential Resources:

Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written Instructions

Take this challenge to the next level: The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh shows you how to make a washtub bass!

4. Wacky Wind Instruments

While string and percussion instruments make sound using the vibration of solid objects, wind instruments make sound using the vibration of air. Create your own wind instruments using simple household items, and then have fun exploring how to make different notes by changing the size of the tube or column you are blowing through.

Suggested Materials:
– Straws
– Scissors
– Tape
– Ruler
– Popsicle sticks
– Rubber bands

Tips and Thoughts
– Before building, try making an empty plastic bottle whistle, by blowing over the top. Add water to the bottle and listen to how to sound changes. How can this same idea be applied to your pan flute?
– How does blowing harder or softer into a wind instrument change the sound it makes, or doesn’t make?
– Experiment with different size or lengths tubes to create different notes in your flute!

Potential Resources:
Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written Instructions

5. Make-Your-Own-Band!

Using free software such as Garageband or Audacity, you can record sounds from different instruments and layer them into a song or beat. Use the instruments you made, any you have at home, or use the built-in beats and sounds in the program.

Suggested Materials:
– A laptop, iphone, or ipad with either Garageband or Audacity (instructions below)
– A few instruments or noise makers

Tips and Thoughts
– Start with a beat, and then try laying new sounds on top of the beat in a new track
– What kind of instruments do you want to include? Remember, your voice can also count as an instrument!
– What other sounds can you make around the house and layer into your song? The clap of a hand or scratch of a pencil can add texture to your track.

Potential Resources:
– Younger Video: Intro to GarageBand on Iphone, Ipad, Macs or Ipods Touch! 
– Older Video: Intro to Audacity is a free open source audio editing platform. This is best for students aged 10 and up.
– Written: Need help downloading? Download Garageband onto all apple devices here.
Instructions on how to download Audacity onto any Laptop here.

Take this challenge to the next level:
Ready to record? Here are part 2 lessons in both Garageband and Audacity.
Garageband
Audacity

We'd love to see what you make!

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