Resource 5: Musical pipes

Background information / subject knowledge for teacher

Adapted from: Motherland Music, Website

Making and playing your own pipes

Pipe ensembles are special music groups because each person plays only one note. However, put together, often in very complicated ways, this creates wonderful music.

Pipes can be made from reeds (in rural areas) or metal (in urban areas). Pipe length can vary from 20 cm to over 1 m, producing a range of high and low notes.

You can make your own pipes by using plastic piping such as electrical conduit, cutting plastic fax-paper pipes, or irrigation piping (12–15 mm diameter). Make pipes of different lengths so that you have different notes.

To play the pipes:

  1. Place the open side of the instrument level, against the lower lip.
  2. Hold the pipe between your fingers, the index and thumb.
  3. Relax your other fingers around the middle of the instrument.
  4. Begin to blow softly across the hole until a note is produced.
  5. Experiment with closing the bottom of the pipe with your hand.

You could also use different sized bottles and blow across the tops to produce sounds.

Resource 4: Pupil praise singing

Resource 6: Ilimba