Learning to play the piano is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable things you can do for your mental and emotional health. In case you don’t have a few thousand dollars to spare right now, though, there are plenty of other instruments that will bring the pleasure of music into your life. Here are a few DIY instruments that you can make today. A few e-lessons, and you’ll be on your way to belting out some beautiful tunes in no time.
The pan flute is a beautiful instrument, and now you can impress your friends with both your musical talents and your crafting ability. Making the flute is simple: Collect a few tubes (the number is up to you, but it should be at least five to give a good range of sound). You can use metal or plastic, but copper isn’t great for the acoustics. Trim down the tubes so they gradually decrease in size (meaning your longest tube should be around 32 cm, the next one 30 cm, etc.) The height variance will affect the sound. Longer tubes produce lower notes, shorter tubes, higher notes. So when you bind the tubes together (use masking tape or heavy-duty string), you create a symphony of sound by blowing into the various levels you’ve created.
How professionally you want to do this one is up to you, but, obviously, the more effort you put into the project, the more long-lasting and professional the results will be. We’ve found paper mache to be a good, solid foundation for this project. So start out making your DIY maracas by covering two blown up balloons with paper mache. Use a lot of layers, but let them dry completely between every few layers, and add salt to the mixture to prevent rotting.
Once completely hardened, pop the balloons, and fill the shells with beans, pebbles, or beads, and use heavy-duty tape to seal the hole. The handles can be paper towel tubes or something more solid for a better grip. Cut four slits approximately two inches long around the tubes so they look like trees with roots when you’re done. Wrap a piece of the tape around the base where the slits end, and then settle the maracas into the slitted ends of each tube. Tape down securely.
Cover the entire maracas with tape or modge podge, and decorate for fun.
For this one you’ll need eight glass containers. They can be mason jars, glasses, or whatever you have around. Line up the eight jars, and add water to each container. Make sure they all contain different amounts of water, though. More water will produce a lower, deeper pitch, so as you vary the level of water in your jars, you are creating different tones to work with. Gently tap the glass with a metal object (spoon, rod), and hear the change in tone when you tap each glass.
Once you start playing around with your homemade xylophone, you will be amazed at how much music you can get out of this simple device. By the way, this is also a great way to teach kids about sound vibrations. Music and science lesson in one!
Making musical instruments at home can be a lot of fun for a rainy day, but you can actually turn it into a real hobby. With a few lessons, you’ll be amazed at how good the music that comes out of these instruments can be.