Our first homemade percussion workshop was done for Drums Not Guns, in a Dallas area library about 1996. An article about it was published in the Dallas morning news.

This was followed by a short series of homemade percussion workshops for the library system in 1997..

Since then we have integrated the junkmusic philosophy into our yearly presentation schedule. let us know if that's the emphasis you want.

a cigar box will be good too.



Homemade Percussion Workshops

Rhythmweb Home | homemade percussion home

This series of workshops has been tested in Dallas/Fort Worth area library systems, with groups of 12-60 kids, grades 1-5. They are around 45 minutes to an hour in length. We focus on a few instruments and methods, including beginning water bottle techniques, working with shakers, and coffee can techniques. Longer, more in depth workshops or workshops designed for other ages can be custom designed. [stu's note: Pre-School kids do not have the attention span for this workshop; for them, we suggest a combination of show and tell and percussion storytime, no longer than 45 minutes..]Adult workshops and teen hands on drumming are also available, using homemade or traditional instruments..write to Eric for more info..

the ingredients

Each kid should bring one or more of the following:

  • one five gallon water bottle, sparklett's type, not necessarily Sparklett's brand.

  • one coffee can with plastic lid

  • one medium sized plastic vitamin bottle, or a small plastic Ragu container. (Empty, of course. Parents: please wash them out thoroughly before bringing them to the event.)

We will supply the sticks or beaters..We will also supply the dried lentils, peas, or unpopped popcorn to fill the containers to make shakers..

what we'll learn

What we want to do is to make these ordinary objects SPEAK musically. There are different ways to produce sound from an object. Each different sound represents a syllable, similar to spoken syllables in English and other languages. If we could all only speak one syllable, think how soon our language would become boring. the idea is to learn to make different syllables, then to learn to string them together into words, sentences, and paragraphs.

The Sounds

The chosen instruments give different tones based on WHERE you strike or rub them, and WITH WHAT shape. (Your hand can take many shapes, and with a stick, you can use the tip or the side.) The sounds we'll make will also fall into two categories: open and closed. An open sound is one where the instrument is allowed to ring or resonate. A closed sound is MUFFLED, stopped from ringing.  

We will explore the sounds available from the water bottle, the coffee can, and the vitamin or Ragu jar, using both our hands and a small stick. We will also take the filler material, and experiment with making shakers, with the coffee can AND the other jar.

The Rhythms

We'll be learning a little about the way rhythm works too. We'll learn stuff like Call & Response, the Rumble, the Pulse. We'll play in teams, some of us on the cans, some the shakers, and some on the bottles as we discover the value of TEAMWORK.


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