Make Your Own Music!

tambourineThere are so many musical instruments in the world, it would be impossible to try them all — not to mention the fact that it would be hard to fit them all in your house! But there IS a way to get an idea of what it would be like to play some of them.

Make your own! I’m not talking about building a piano, or putting together a real violin, but I found some cool books at the library last week that show how to make musical instruments out of things you have around the house.

Just click on “read more” to find out about them, and to learn about an amazing group in South America who have made an orchestra of instruments made of things from the trash dump!

514S4pQgMcL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Make Your Own Musical Instruments

Author: Anna-Marie D’Cruz

Series: Do It Yourself Projects!

Publisher: New York: PowerKids Press/Rosen Group, 2009.

Audience Age: 8 years old and up

Themes/Topics: Musical instruments around the world, kids’ crafts, making musical instruments from household items

What You’ll Find Inside: This book has just 24 pages, but they’re filled with cool crafts and interesting information. Each two-page spread tells you something about the instrument, something about the people who use it, and then shows you step-by-step with words and photos how to make a home-made version of the real thing.

It goes all around the world, with Spanish castanets from paper and buttons, bongo drums from cylindrical containers, hand drums, even a hand harp like the ones that were played in ancient Egypt! You’ll learn, have fun, and end up with an international band of instruments.

Make Your Own Musical Instruments is out of print, but I found it in our public library — I hope you will, too!

512gtDNVVgL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Nifty Thrifty Music Crafts

Author: Felicia Lowenstein Niven

Series: Nifty Thrifty Crafts for Kids

Publisher: Berkeley Heights, NJ, Enslow Elementary, 2008.

Audience Age: 6 years old and up

Themes/Topics: Musical instruments around the world, kids’ crafts, making musical instruments from household items

What You’ll Find Inside: This is another book that’s chock-full of easy ways to craft musical instruments. You can make a tambourine, or a pan-flute, finger cymbals, a rain-stick or maracas, all from things that you can find around the house, or get very easily.

Nifty Thrifty Music Crafts is still available to buy, or you can find it at your library like I did.

With both books, be sure to ask for an adult’s help if you need it. Safety is important!

Enjoy playing your new musical instruments, get your friends together and make a band – have a concert or a parade. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination.


Not everyone can afford to buy musical instruments. Some very poor people in South America have found a way to create musical instruments from things other people have thrown away. They’re the Landfill Harmonic in Paraguay (Philharmonic is a word used to describe or name orchestras, so Landfill Harmonic is a kind of play on words, as well as describing exactly what they are.) Check out this video!

Here’s their website: Landfill Harmonic.

Music is for everyone!

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  1. I love the idea of making musical instruments from things you can find near to hand. The books you mentioned look great, and I though I’m sorry the South American kids had to go to a dump to find music I think it’s so cool that they did!

    1. Thanks, Susanna. Did you watch the video of the Landfill Harmonic? The music they produce from those recycled-trash instruments is amazing!

  2. Great post Beth. I used to take Nicole to children’s concerts at the Victoria, and sometimes they would feature a group of musicians who made instruments from spoons, wash tubs and boards, to wires. I like the idea of encouraging kids to make their own musical instruments. When I pack Operation Christmas Child boxes in Otctober, I always love to visit the Crackle Barrel (don’t know if you have the chain) because they have so many fun instruments that I like to include in my boxes. The books you shared would be a great to use on one of “school closed” days.

    1. There are so many ways to make music! We don’t have the Crackle Barrel here, but I do like to find toy instruments to give to the local Christmas Cheer appeal (people donate new toys to be given to kids at the holidays). You are so right about these books being a great resource for days when school is closed. Thanks, Pat!

  3. One of my ms that I am working on is inspired by my trip to Paraguay earlier this year. In researching I came across the Landfill Harmonic. I found the people to be very creative and can turn their hands to most things.Timely and interesting post, thank you!

    1. Wonderful that you’re writing something inspired by your trip to Paraguay. Glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks, Diane.

  4. This is cool! Josie and I have done this many times – make our own instruments. I had a project in school last year to design our own instrument. I made a hand-held harp. I used fishing line of different weights for the strings.

    1. What a fantastic project! I’m impressed. And I’m so glad to see that you and Josie have often made your own instruments. Yay YOU! Thanks, Erik!

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