Music to Your Ears
Humans have been making and playing musical instruments for thousands and thousands of years. New instruments are invented, and existing instruments are continually modified to produce different sounds. Probably every culture has used a hollow log as a simple drum. Many instruments are based on vibrating strings. One category of instruments, horns, depends on the vibrating lips of the player to create sound. Other instruments use vibrating reeds. The many flutelike instruments create sound by causing a column of air to vibrate. In this project, you will design, build, test, and modify your own musical instrument. At the end of the project, you will demonstrate your instrument in a class presentation.
*Where to Go to Get an Idea
Look carefully at the examples you are shown in class. Also, try going to google and then typing in “homemade musical instruments”. There will be a number of sites you can check out from there. You may also try putting in terms such as “making a homemade ____ (guitar, drums, cymbals etc)”.
*Have your teacher approve the design of your instrument before you
begin construction. This first blueprint will be a daily grade, and 10 points of your grade.
*You must demonstrate and play a simple tune in a class presentation with your group
*You must be able to demonstrate how to change loudness and pitch
of the sound produced by your instrument. (drum solo anyone?)
*You will also be asked to explain the construction, modifications, and
challenges involved in making your instrument.
*Your instrument must be made of safe materials. Cover any sharp
edges with tape.
*Loud sounds can damage hearing. Do not play your instrument too
near other students’ ears.
*You may not use electricity to play your instrument in any way unless you
check it with your science teacher first.
You may build your musical instrument from a wide variety of materials. Some things you could use include different sizes of rubber bands, sturdy cardboard tubes/boxes, bottles/jars/glasses/, different lengths of pipes (plastic PVC, copper, conduit, aluminum), string, wire, fishing line, guitar strings, wooden craft sticks or tongue depressors, wood, ceramic tile, etc. Try browsing in a hardware or craft store and check out the various materials and objects.
*Start right away
*Plan and gather materials before you build.
*Practice you presentation – in front of family and/or friends.
*Remember you have to get it to school – don’t make it too big!
*Do your best! Have fun!
*Don’t be afraid to try something different.
Instrument Project Time Line
1. First blueprint turned in and approved. . . . . . . . . . Tuesday /Wednesday April 23/24
2. Instrument is basically constructed. Test the notes as you go and adjust.
Testing of instrument is done and song is picked out. Modify (fine tune) your instrument so you can play...