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The Green Life: 3 Easy DIY World Instruments

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July 17, 2013

3 Easy DIY World Instruments

Pow wow drumMadonna once sang, “music makes the people come together.” If that’s the case, Daria Marmaluk Hajioannou has spent the last two decades bringing together children from all over the world. Winner of the 2009 Parents Choice Award, she has come up with ways to make instruments from unconventional items in order to allow children to reconnect with their cultural heritage.

Here are three DIY instruments you can make at home.

Pow-wow Drum and Beaters
This Native American instrument is a communal drum that numerous people can play. Talk about a jam session!

1) Large piece of fabric. Examples: Vinyl or fake skin
2) Wooden Dowels ( between 8-14 inches)
3) Electric tape
4) Decorations like feathers, yarn, and sharpies

1) Wrap one end of the dowels with electric tape.
2) Decorate the dowels with whatever materials and designs appeals to you. The beater is meant to reflect your personality.
3) Stretch the fabric to ensure better vibrations.
4) If possible, decorate your pow-wow drum too.

In Peru and other Latin American countries, a square drum called a cajón can be found. Historically, it was a DIY instrument made from drawers, shipping crates, or any type of hollow box.

1) Cardboard box
2) Pen
3 )Scissors

1) Take a pen and draw a large circle on one side of the box. The sound will come out from this cavity.
2) Make sure the circle is as round as possible before using the scissors to make a hole.
3) Due to the hole, different parts of the box will make different sounds. Experiment to create some rocking beats!

Insider Tips:
1) The size of the box doesn’t matter but obviously the bigger, the better.
2) If you’re looking for tougher materials, especially for adults, use wood that you can cut with a jigsaw.

Didgeridoo and clapsticksDidgeridoo
The aboriginal people in Australia still play this instrument. There are many different stories about how the didgeridoo came to be, but back in the day, it was made by hollowing a branch.

1) Wrapping paper rolls or mailing tube (the longer, the better)
2) Paper products
3) Stickers
4) Paint
5) Sharpie pens
6) Ribbon

1) Decorate the didgeridoo with any of the above decorations. Remember that the Aboriginal people used small dots to form lizards and other animals native to the land down under.
2) Blow rasberries out of your mouth by placing your lips on the didgeridoo.
3) Once you've mastered that, blow circular breaths while inhaling through your nose. It's not easy, but this is the way the professionals do it.

Insider Tips:
1) For adults, you can use PVC piping instead of paper rolls but remember to sandpaper the pipe first.
2)Don’t go out of your way to buy PVC piping because it has many environmental concerns. Only use if you have some already that you wish to upcycle.

Image courtesy of Daria Marmaluk Hajiaonnou (3 images)

Ailsa_SMAilsa Sachdev is an editorial intern at Sierra. She is a rising senior at Mount Holyoke College and spent the last semester reporting on witchcraft in Morocco. She is passionate about food and travel, and knows how to say "I'm hungry" in over 10 languages.



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