How do people around the world make music? In some really amazing, beautiful, and diverse ways!
The instruments used to make music around the globe are also quite diverse and often made from unique materials. Some are crafted from dried gourds, bones, bamboo or from wood. There are also instruments that use repurposed items – such as the cajón from Peru. This “box drum” was originally made in secret from shipping boxes and dresser drawers when slaves were forbidden to use their African-style drums. If you add a set of thimbles to a washboard, you turn a household tool into a percussion instrument! It’s easy to see how common items can take on new usages and meaning.
There are also some modern ways or recreating ancient instruments. Didgeridoos; originally from Aboriginal culture of Australia, can now be found all over the world. Instead of the original didg made from a tree branch hollowed out by ants, some are made from pvc piping – the type found in most modern bathrooms. Other unique ones I’ve seen in my travels include one made from a long tube and an orange traffic cone and one made from used crushed, metal Chinese food containers. People have gotten really creative in making and remaking instruments – often with the coolest recycled materials. And you can to!
Here’s a list of our favorite recycled instrument crafts along with the materials you’ll need to create them for yourself.
Cajon (box drum)
Materials: sturdy cardboard box, materials for decoration
Materials: pvc piping or long gift wrap paper tube, materials for decoration
Materials: Sturdy cardboard, manila folder, materials for decoration
Materials: Sturdy metal or plastic box, rubber bands in various sizes
Materials: plastic water bottle with ridges, unsharpened pencil, hair pick or used chopstick (as scraper), materials for decoration
Materials: Large piece of sturdy material (such as vinyl), materials for decoration
Make a Drum Beater
Materials: long stick, electrical tape, materials for decoration
Materials: Recycled milk jug, stickers, about a handful of any small material such as rice, birdseed or dried macaroni
Recycled Rattles – Nature Walk Rattles
Materials: Any clear recycled container, any items found on a nature walk, electrical tape
Materials: two small plastic water bottles, two toilet paper tubes, about a handful of any small material such as rice, birdseed or dried macaroni, electrical tape
Materials: Either a wire coat hanger or a tree branch shaped like a “y”, jewelry wire or any thin wire, beads, jingles, buttons or other “jangley” objects.
Materials: Large roasting pan, pipecleaners, large tube from gift wrap or large stick, stick (ruler or unsharpened pencil) for the beater, electrical tape, materials for decoration
Cajita (little box percussion instrument)
Materials: cigar box, wooden dowel, small cabinet knob, materials for decoration
Materials: small pieces of wood, bobby pins, push pins, glue
Materials: any shipping box, small piece of sturdy plastic or vinyl, packing tape, about a handful of any small material such as rice, birdseed or dried macaroni, materials for decoration
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rock Out! E-Book
Would you like to see 10 of these ideas in a step-by-step format with illustrations and photos of the projects plus instruments? I’ve just published an e-book called Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rock Out! It’s available from Teachers Pay Teachers and from my Little Village Store at the links below.
From Teachers Pay Teachers ($5.99):
From DARIA’s Little Village Store ($5.99):