Let’s face it: We all need music in our lives, even if we don’t know it. It doesn’t have to be professional or polished. In fact, it can be music we create. Nothing fancy, of course. Instruments can be pretty primitive, and sometimes the more primitive the better. Or at least, more fun. It was the fun part of this that made me research instruments that you can make with materials on hand. In particular, I wanted to see what children could create. I taught high school, so I didn’t have that wisdom that teachers in the lower grades have and that I’ve always admired.
Percussion instruments are always a favorite and the easiest to create. I found out that macaroni can be used in a variety of ways. I put some in a margarine container which made a fine (and pretty loud) percussion instrument. Anything resembling maracas was popular with my kids, so I used plastic spoons, plastic Easter eggs, and rice to make reasonable shakers. And I grabbed a big plastic bowl to use as a drum, but there are fancier ones with directions online. I discovered that it’s possible to create a primitive but workable guitar out of a shoebox, but I didn’t have all the ‘ingredients’ that I needed. However, I did decide to include water glasses to help with melodies. Who would have thought, by the way, that they’d be difficult to tune!
The one instrument that I really wanted to make and play was one I’ve admired since childhood: the spoons. I’ve always been fascinated by musicians, usually country, who could play them so well. I was jealous. And so, of course, I had to learn. I watched YouTube videos and read articles and, naturally, I practiced. And by golly, I did it! Not well, necessarily, but I could do it. I doubt the Grand ‘Ole Opry will be calling anytime soon, but hey…
I decided to sing Old MacDonald Had a Farm and accompany myself with water glasses and percussion. It lacked polish (I’m WAY understating that) but it was fun. I started this post by saying we all need music in our lives, and I wasn’t kidding. There isn’t nearly enough joy these days with COVID, the political landscape, and weather events that seem to be increasingly bigger and more devastating. I think we need music to drown out the sadness. And the louder, the better. And who cares if it isn’t polished or professional, as long as it’s loud and fun. If it comes from the heart, macaroni shakers and shoebox guitars will work just fine. Let the little ones create, sing and dance. And let their spirits—and ours—be lifted by the melodious and not so melodious sounds. ❤️