Parents can often be concerned about the cost of instruments when they are encouraging a budding young musician at home. What I'd like to share with you is that when it comes to the first few years of making music, you don't have to spend much to begin musical explorations with your children. In our workshops, we provide instruments for the children to play, but also to demonstrate to parents how using simple instruments can really get kids thinking about the types of sound that are available.
For example, we nearly always have some shakers, chime bars, triangles and boomwhackers in our instrument box. Arranged into small groups, these all have quite a distinctive sound and can lead to some great group performances.
What follows is a few different videos to get you thinking about how you can encourage your child to start making music at home without having to raid your savings!
1.) One String Guitar
This is a great video showing you what can be done with very little! One string, two notes and a pretty good sense of rhythm (and fun!). I’ve often had a string snap on my guitar at home and it’s sat there unplayed until I’ve had time to replace it, yet there’s nothing wrong with the other strings!
What I love about this video is that it can encourage us to pick up the guitar with the broken strings or sit behind the piano with the missing keys and just get making some music. It can be a fun challenge to try play your favourite song on an instrument that’s a bit more limited than normal, not to mention immensely satisfying when you do master it. Sometimes necessity can spark fantastic moments of musical magic!
2.) Paint Pot Drummer
Let’s face it, children love drums. Our kitchen table often gets a good bashing depending on what’s coming out of the radio that day. But drum kits can be expensive, even at entry level.
If your child is showing some flair for beats, why not try build a DIY drum kit? Look at what’s on display in the video above - common enough to have in the shed or garage? Failing that, why not get some pots and pans out on the floor? Try to use as many different materials as possible and make sure that nothing is fragile or precious!
3.) Techno Pipe Guy
If you have a budding inventor or engineer at home, you’ll love the video above.
What ‘Pipe Guy’ has done is taken different lengths of pipe and so when each length is hit it creates a particular tone. All of these different tones are part of the same scale, so they sound in tune when played in sequence.
This could be a great project to try out at home, especially if you have some leftover pipe after some home renovations! This is the basic principal behind the boomwhacker instruments I mentioned earlier too.
4.) Hambone Knee-Slapper
Sometimes you don’t even need any instruments. As the hambone video above shows, we can use ourselves as the drum kit and try work out the variety of sounds that are available all over ourselves before combining them with a good sense of rhythm.
You’ll probably be aware of the different hand slapping and rhyming songs that your kids might know from school already. Hambone takes that to the extreme and can be a great way for young people to show off their rhythmical prowess!
A typewriter being used in an orchestra? Really?
What's great about this video is that it shows us that the unique sound qualities that random objects have can be used in a musical way. We don't necessarily need to have expensive instruments, what's important is knowing what sorts of sounds we have available and how to use them while playing with others. That's what DabbledooMusic is all about!
Hopefully these videos have fired up some new musical ideas for you! We'd love to hear your stories in the comments below. Happy music making!
If you'd like to find more ideas for making music at home, check our 'Complete Guide to Music Making for Kids' for links to additional resources.