Tag Archives: DIY instruments

Make Your Own New Year’s Eve Noise-Makers!

big-bottle-shaker-recycled-rattleMany new parents – or tired parents – opt to stay home on New Year’s Eve and ring in the New Year with the kids! Even if you won’t stay up until midnight – you definitely need some fun noise-makers to mark the coming of a new year!

Here is a new New Year’s Eve project – big bottle shakers – as well as a list of favorite noise-making crafts from the past few years. Monkey drums and vuvuzelas, anyone?

Oh yes, and a very happy new year to all!

Big Bottle Shakers For New Year’s Eve!

sticker-shekere-pictureKids like to make lots of noise and these big rattles are perfect for safe and easy noise-makers. Start with a large recycled bottle (with a lid or cap) that’s clean and dry. Gallon milk jug containers and liter soft drink bottles work well for this craft.

Step One is to fill with whatever you have on hand. For louder rattles, add items like extra jingle bells, buttons, pebbles, dried macaroni or paper clips. For quieter rattles, add things like birdseed, sand, salt or sugar. Before you close the cap and seal the rattle, consider adding a bit of bling. Maybe some glitter that you have on-hand or some MYO confetti? (BTW, Our next post is MYO confetti – it’s messy but super simple!).

Step Two. Once you’ve filled your bottle with things that jingle and jangle, close the lid and seal with a sturdy tape, such as colorful electrical tape. This keeps the contents inside and makes the project more child safe.

screen-shot-2016-03-28-at-3-09-55-pmLastly; if you like, you can decorate the outside. You can add stickers, colorful tape or draw with permanent markers. You can also adorn the handle with streams of ribbon or yarn. This is a great way to recycle extra holiday wrapping and put it to a good use!

What else can you make? Check out these favorite posts from New Year’s Eves past.

New Year’s Eve Noise-Makers With Wrapping Paper Rolls http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/babies-and-music/noisemakers-new-years-eve-craft/

bolang-gu-craft-versionBolang Gu – A Chinese Monkey Drum Craft https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Monkey-Drum-Chinese-New-Year-Drum-Craft-1748044

Make Your Own Vuvuzela Stadium Horn https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Vuvuzela-Make-Play-Your-Own-South-African-Stadium-Horn-1242716

kyra-plays-a-vuvuEverything But The Kitchen Sink Rattles  http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/early-learning-with-music/new-years-eve-noisemakers-recycled-rattles/

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Celebrate Chinese (Lunar) New Year With A Year of The Sheep Gong!

sheep gong craft picBang a gong and everyone listens!

Gongs are amazing, loud, inspiring instruments, but where can you find one?  If you have some basic supplies, then you can craft one right in your own home or classroom.  And you can decorate your new gong with a Chinese zodiac symbol or some other creative theme.

Supplies

Large metal pan (like a recycled pie tin, pizza pan, or a turkey roasting pan)
Pipecleaners or yarn
a smaller pie-tin gongStick, broomstick or long cardboard tube
Paint, stickers, glitter, glue or textured paint for decorating the gong
12 – 18” wooden dowel or wooden spoon (for the drum beater)
Colorful tape (for the drum beater)

Step By Step Directions

You can find step-by-step instructions as a pdf on DARIA’s world music for kids website or in her TeachersPayTeachers store.  Both are free, here:

http://www.dariamusic.com/docs/chinesegong.pdf

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Chinese-Gong-From-Recycled-Materials-486935

horse gong imageWhat Year Is It?

In February 2015, we’ve entered into the year of the sheep or the goat.   You can see an image of a ram on the pie tin gong at the top of this post!  But, there are 12 Chinese Zodiac signs so you may also want to use any of the other animals as part of your design.  You might also want to find out what year you were born in.

Take a look at the chart below and you can find out if you are a pig, an ox, a monkey or a rat!

Chinese ZodiacLinks and Resources

Bolang Gu on redMake Your Own Bolang Gu  (Monkey Drum)
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/chinese-mandarin/make-your-own-bolang-gu-chinese-pellet-drum

Kids Music Videos of Chinese New Year Drums and Celebrations
http://multikidsmusicvids.com/?cat=97

Two Popular Chinese New Years Songs
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/chinese-mandarin/two-wonderful-songs-to-celebrate-chinese-new-year

“Gong Xi! Gong Xi!” – The Excitement of Chinese New Year
http://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/gong-xi-gong-xi-the-excitement-of-chinese-new-year/

Go Ahead, Play With The Box – A Little Box Instrument From Peru

cajita on grass (homemade)It’s almost a cliche. A child is given a special present and they prefer to play with the box!

But, did you know that in Peru, there are two different types of boxes that are actually used as instruments?  We’ve already shared a post about a cajón, a box drum from Afro-Peruvian culture that you can make at home (link below). Now we’d like to show you another box instrument called the cajita. Making and playing a cajita is a wonderful way to develop motor skills, explore rhythms, discover new music and just plain have fun!

WHAT IS A CAJITA?

The cajita is a small, hexagonal box that comes from Afro-Peruvian culture. Originally, it was used to collect donations in Catholic churches. The altar boys wore the donation box around their necks as they collected the offerings. Then; after they removed the money intended for the church, they used the box as a percussion instrument.

josef plays cajitaHow did they make music with a cajita? They opened and closed the lid for one sound. They took a small stick and tapped the sides and top, for another sound. They opened the lid and “stirred” the inside for still another type of percussion. And then they mixed all those different sounds together.

Since it might be a bit hard to imagine, here’s a short video with two cajitas and one cajón (box drum) that will demonstrate what it looks and sounds like.

MAKING A HOMEMADE CAJITA

Making a wooden box cajita requires special materials as well as woodworking tools and skills.  A bit easier to create is a cigar box cajita which is sturdy enough to be played like the real thing, but can be made from some basic materials and supplies found around almost any home.

Here’s what you need to create a cigar box cajita.

SUPPLIES

Cigar box
Small knob and matching screw (knobs from kitchen cabinets or small dressers work perfectly)
Hammer and nail or awl tool (to make a hole for the knob to be inserted in lid)
Two dowels or sticks – about 8” in length
Materials for decorating such as paint, construction paper, stickers, glitter and glue

DECORATE A HOMEMADE CAJITA

homemade cajita (inside)If you’d like to decorate your cajita, begin this project by personalizing the cigar box. You can paint it, decoupage it, add stickers, construction paper or glitter and glue to make it unique. Since you’ll be opening and closing the lid, you may want to decorate the inside as well as the outside.

Next, add the knob so you can easily lift the cajita’s lid up and down. To do this, the adult can help with the process of hammering a small nail or using an awl to pierce a hole in the lid of the box. Position that hole in the exact center of the box, about an inch or so away from the edge of the lid that opens up. Once the hole is created, it’s easy to insert the knob in the top of the box and use the screw to tighten it into place. Now you should be able to open and close the lid of the box easily.

Finally, cut two wooden dowels. One will weigh down your box so you can play your instrument without the cajita bouncing up and down.  The other will be the playing stick that you use to tap and play your instrument. If possible, cut the first dowel to a length just a bit short of the inner width of the box.  Glue the dowel in place in the inner front of the box and leave it to dry. In the meantime, cut and decorate your second dowel. This one can be any length that is comfortable to hold in your hand while playing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATIME TO JAM

Now the musical fun begins. If you’ve watched the video above and are ready to dive right in, then skip this section. If you prefer some playing tips, here are some good suggestions to get you started.

Get to know your cajita by tapping the sides and the front and making a rhythm pattern. Notice how each sound is a bit different. Try something like “front, front, side. Front, front side.” Try a similar pattern with the sides and the top. Later, add the sound of the lid opening and closing. Since this can sometimes feel like “rubbing your stomach and patting your head”, it’s best to start with simpler patterns and then work up to more complicated ones. If working with younger children, it can be good to let them explore the instrument before trying to play specific patterns.

You can also put on any type of music and allow your child to create a beat that goes along with it.

A CAJITA JAM AS A GROUP

After getting the hang of creating rhythms with a cajita, you can play as a group, with several cajitas or with different instruments playing together as well. This can be a fun way of building rhythm in a classroom or a homeschool setting because each child or person hears how their musical part plays an important role in the overall beat.

An easy way to start a jam is to have one person – like the cajita player – play a very simple pattern such as opening and closing the lid. The next person adds another sound, the third and forth, add their own simple parts. If you check out this jam, you’ll see how the rhythm starts on one instrument (a quijada jawbone), the cajita is added next and finally, a large cajón (or box drum) joins in.

Links and Resources

Videos of Cajitas, Cajóns And Quijadas from Multicultural Kids Music Vids:

http://multikidsmusicvids.com/?cat=520

Make Your Own Cajón Box Drum – Free From TeachersPayTeachers

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Cajon-Make-And-Play-Your-Own-Box-Drum-1236616