This is a series teaching how to make many of the cool sound effects instruments I use in my DrumSongStory programs. I will be updating these posts with video as well. I welcome your photos and videos, links and suggestions. These very simple instruments can also be made as part of a team building process for organizational and corporate groups who are interested in innovative ways to break the ice and build connections and community while having fun.
I’ve also held instrument making workshops just before a performance of Drum Of The Elephant King so that the participants can be an integral part of the show.
Here’s a small audio sample so you can hear how I use these instruments in my DrumSongStory programs:
How to be a Shaker Maker
This is probably the easiest instrument for small children (and C-level executives) to make. Ages 3 and up.
Approximately 5-10 minutes. (Longer for grown-ups :o)
Any closeable container. I prefer small plastic bottles, film canisters (now an endangered species since digital photography), even those plastic Easter eggs. But there is no “wrong” container. I have heard great sounding shakers made out of soda bottles, cool whip containers, laundry detergent bottles etc.
Any small hard substance. I prefer pop-corn, beans, rices etc. but you can also use sand, gravel, BB’s, clean kitty litter etc. Half the fun is experimenting.
How to Make It:
- Open up your container and put the pop-corn etc. inside.
- Close container
Does it sound good? Try putting less shaker material. Try putting more in.
Note to teachers and parents (and managers in some corporations): For some groups you may want to glue or tape the containers closed. Have a broom and dust pan on hand for clean up.
If time permits you can then decorate your shakers.
At one school, the kindergarten teachers (don’t you just love kindergarten teachers?) had their students decorate their film canister containers with little glue-on eyes, paper wings and pipe cleaners.
It was cool because they really looked like bugs! We were using them to create the sound of “Insects Buzzing In The Grass” in my Drum Of The Elephant King Program.
How To Play It: Just Shake It Baby!
Alternative shaker for when you just want to groove to the music and don’t have handy household materials around. Just shake your keys.
Next in the series:
How To Make A Cuica (a.k.a. Chicken In A Cup)
How To Make a Rain Stick: Part One & Part Two
How To Make Wind Tubes
How To Make An Ocean Drum
How To Make A 2X4 Xylophone, Old Wrench Xylophone, Wind Chimes etc.
How to Make A “Paint Stirrer Rhythm Stick”
How To Make A “Paint Stirrer Stir Drum”