20190127_145056 Instructions for making an instrument out of a plastic bottle
KMFA (local classical music station) celebrates its birthday party every year at the end of January. This year the party took place at the Springdale Station, which is an event venue in East Austin. There were free cupcakes, beer, and, of course, classical music performances. There was also a build-your-own-instrument workshop for children.
The workshop at KMFA taught children how to build an "instrument" out of a plastic bottle, nitrile glove, straws, rubberbands, and paper. When you blow into it through a straw, the resulting instrument makes a sound that I would politely compare to that of a kazoo, but it really could be more accurately described as a sound you shouldn't make in a nice company. And if you cut several holes in the paper tube, you can, by selectively covering them with your fingers, produce sounds of different pitch. So you could even play a little tune entirely out of sounds unacceptable in a polite company.
The complete steps for making such an instrument are:
Collect the materials! You'll need:
1 nitrile glove,
1 piece of paper.
Using a hole punch, punch a hole as far from the cut edge of the bottle as you can. Ask for help if the hole punch doesn't go through. Make sure straw fits!
Using scissors, cut the fingers and thumb off the glove, then cut a straight line on the side where thumb was. You should end up with a rectangle of material, which is your membrane!
Stretch the membrane over the big opening on bottom of the bottle, making sure the small hole you made in Step 2 doesn't end up covered.
Secure the membrane onto the bottle with the rubberband, wrapped twice around. Pull so smooth and taut.
Roll the piece of paper lengthwise into a small tube, put the rolled up tube into the small neck of the bottle, where the cap had been. Let go of the tube when it touches the bottom of the membrane. It should be secure.
Reinsert the straw into the small hole made in Step 2, pushing it until it lightly touches inside of the opposide side of the bottle. You should be ready to play!
Use your mouth to blow air into the bottle through the straw.
How does adding finger holes to the paper tube change the sound? (Use scissors to cut when pinching.)
What happens with a different bottle? Or if you move the straw?