You can create beautiful music without buying expensive instruments. For thousands of years people have been making musical instruments with their own hands from natural materials and household items. Read on to learn how to make a simple drum, maraca, flute, xylophone, and rain stick.
Method 1 of 6: Make a Balloon Drum
Step 1. Find a base for the drum
You can use an old pot, bowl, vase, or bucket. Choose a deep, sturdy container as your base. Avoid containers made of glass or other fragile materials.
Step 2. Get a package of balloons
You will likely pop a few balloons in the process of creating your drum, so having several is a good idea. Choose large, sturdy balloons. However, you will want to get balloons of various sizes so that you can be sure to find ones that will fit the base of the drum.
Step 3. Cut off one end of the balloon
Take the scissors and trim one end of the balloon, right at the curve where it begins to taper.
Step 4. Stretch the balloon over the base
Use one hand to hold the balloon over one end of the base while using the other hand to stretch it to the other end. The balloon goes over the mouth of the pot, vase or bucket that you use as a base.
- You may want a friend to help you hold the balloon in place so it doesn't slip out of place.
- If the balloon you used seems too small or too big for the base, try a different size balloon.
Step 5. Secure the balloon in place with tape
Use a sturdy piece of packing tape or duct tape to hold the balloon in place around the circumference of the base of your drum.
Step 6. Play the balloon drum with some sticks
Use chopsticks, pencils, or any other long, thin object to play your drums.
Method 2 of 6: Make a maraca
Step 1. Choose a container for the maraca
You can use an aluminum coffee can, a glass pitcher with a lid, or cardboard rolls to create your maracas. Wooden containers work too. Each type of container will end up generating a different and unique sound.
Step 2. Choose the objects to shake
Any set of small objects will create interesting sounds when you shake it. Collect a handful of some (or all) of the following items:
- Beads, whether made of plastic, glass or wood
- Dried beans or rice
Step 3. Put the objects you are going to shake in the container
Step 4. Seal the container with a lid
Step 5. Wrap the container with masking tape
Overlap each turn you make with the duct tape a bit to make sure you completely cover the container.
Step 6. Decorate your maraca
Use paint or other decorative materials to add bright colors and patterns to the maraca.
Step 7. Shake it off
Use the maraca as a percussion instrument alone or as part of a band.
Method 3 of 6: Make a Two-Note Flute
Step 1. Get a glass bottle or jug
The flute will work well if you make it with a bottle of wine or olive oil, a large glass pitcher, or any other glass container that has a narrow neck.
Step 2. Drill a finger-width hole in the bottom of the container
Use a glass cutter to poke a small hole in the bottom of the bottle or pitcher.
Step 3. Blow through the mouth of the container
Put your lips in such a way that you blow horizontally just over the opening of the container. Keep blowing until you get a clear musical note. This can take time, so be patient and keep practicing.
Step 4. Cover and uncover the hole at the bottom with your finger
Do this as you blow and experiment with the different sounds the instrument makes.
Step 5. Try tilting your head up and down to play the sharp and flat of the note
Method 4 of 6: Make a Water Bottle Xylophone
Step 1. Get five 20-ounce bottles of water
Choose round bottles with flat bases and wide mouths. You can also use jars. Number the containers 1 through 5.
Step 2. Fill the bottles with different amounts of water
Add the following amounts to the bottles:
- Bottle 1: 562 milliliters (19 ounces). This will produce the note fa.
- Bottle 2: 384 milliliters (13 ounces). This will produce the G note.
- Bottle 3: 325 milliliters (11 ounces). This will produce the note la.
- Bottle 4: 237 milliliters (8 ounces). This will produce the note C.
- Bottle 5: 177 milliliters (6 ounces). This will produce the note d.
Step 3. Touch the bottles with a metal spoon
Gently tap the sides of the bottles with the spoon to produce the notes.
Method 5 of 6: Make a Rain Stick
Step 1. Insert some small nails into a tube of paper towels
Drive the nails in random places on the sides of the tube. For the best effect, insert at least 15 nails.
Step 2. Tape a cap to the bottom of the tube
Glue a piece of cardboard or other sturdy covering over the base of the tube.
Step 3. Add "the rain"
Pour in some rice, sand, dried beans, beads, corn kernels, and other small objects that will create the sounds of rain.
Step 4. Cover the top
Add another cover on top of the rain pole and tape it down.
Step 5. Cover the rain stick with wrapping paper
You can also decorate your instrument with paint or stickers.
Step 6. Touch the rain stick
Tilt your instrument from side to side to listen to the sound of falling rain.
Method 6 of 6: Making an oboe with straws
Step 1. Get a straw
You can find one in just about any restaurant, or you may have some at home.
Small straws (such as coffee stirrers or soda straws) or others that bend will not help
Step 2. Use your teeth to flatten one end of the straw to create a mouthpiece with principles similar to a double reed
Experiment with it until it can produce a sound.
- If you find it easy to blow and no sound is produced, like a regular straw, try flattening it further. You can also use a mouthpiece (the position of the lips) to lower the lips even more.
- If blowing is too difficult for you, it may be too flat. Blow the other end to open the "reed" a little.
Step 3. Drill holes using a compass and scissors
- Plan where you want the hole to be and how big you want it to be. Keep in mind that you will have to cover it with a finger.
- Poke two holes in the straw using the sharp end of a compass or something similar. The holes should be at the top and bottom of where you want the hole in the straw to be.
- When making the holes, you should make them as large as possible, but be careful that the tool does not pierce the other side of the straw or allow air to escape.
- Using scissors, place the tip of each blade into the small holes you made with the compass. If the holes are too small for the scissors blades, reinsert the compass and turn it a little to make them larger.
- Make a cut with the scissors to connect the holes.
- Now that there is a larger space for the scissors to fit, insert a blade of the scissors into the line you cut and carefully cut a circle.
Step 4. Cut as many holes as you want
- Don't circle too much. Remember that you only have as many fingers as you can use. A recommended number is six.
- If the holes are too high, they could interfere with the vibrations of the reed.