Resource 2: Making instruments
Teacher resource for planning or adapting to use with pupils
‘Long ago, before man-made materials were available, people in indigenous societies in Africa constructed musical instruments from materials they found around them … in rural societies they made bows from sinew and wood, leg-rattles from fruit or cocoon shells filled with seeds or stones, and drums from animal skins and wood’
Instrument-making materials list
Make a collection of sound-makers, using the following categories as a guide.
- Wooden objects.
- Metal objects.
- Hollow objects.
- Surfaces that can be scraped.
- Surfaces that can be hit.
- Objects that can be suspended.
- Objects that can be shaken.
- Material that can be plucked.
- Containers for drums and shakers:
- small glass or plastic bottles; yoghurt cups; matchboxes; washing powder boxes; cardboard or plastic tubes; coffee tins; tin cold drink cans; plastic drink bottles.
- Flat cardboard boxes to make a sound tray.
- Glass bottles of different sizes and shapes (fill them with water and tap with a metal beater).
- Fillings for shakers and tambourines:
- stones; seeds; rice; beans; nails; sand; lentils; bead; corks; buttons; paperclips; bottle tops.
- Materials for guitars:
- shoe boxes; old oil tins; elastic bands; flat pieces of wood; thin pieces of wire or fishing line.
- Materials for multitones (instruments that can make two or more sounds):
- cutlery, car hubcap, kitchen utensils, saucepan lids, grater, colander, whisk, old teapot.
- Metal objects to suspend from a gong stand, metal coat hanger or wooden dowelling rod:
- metal nails tied together, old horseshoe, large metal bolt, old bits of iron, copper tubing.
- old cutlery, long nail, strong wooden stick, toothbrush, ruler, chopstick.
- More materials:
- seed pods or dry calabashes; newspaper; wire coat hangers; rubber foam; string and metal wire of all sizes and strengths; wooden sticks or blocks; plastic bags.