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Found Sounds From around Your Home

Found Sounds From around Your Home
Singing Straws, Egg Carton Maracas and Tin Can Drum

American Youth Symphony’s 55th season was inspired by the natural world and claimed this season to be, “A Celebration of Nature.” Throughout the season, concerts have featured pieces inspired by nature including Joan Tower’s Sequoia, Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony, and Jennifer Higdon’s All Things Majestic. As the stay-at-home orders stay in place, we invite readers to explore “found sounds” from around their home or nature and create an orchestra from everyday objects. While you are at home during this pandemic, we hope music can bring you joy and help discover your own creative spark!

Egg Carton Maracas

Materials: Egg carton, chopsticks or wooden dowels, lentils, tape, scissors

These little shakers are so fun and the perfect size for your little ones! Simply cut each egg holder out of the carton (make sure they’re all approximately the same size). Fill one half with lentils or other small, solid objects (beads work well), then tape the two sides together. Using scissors, make a small hole on one side of the maraca to insert your chopstick or wooden dowel handle. Tape it closed and make sure the maraca is securely sealed so that none of the insides escape. Try different materials for the insides and explore the different sounds they make. Decorate as you wish and enjoy! 

Singing Straws

Materials: Plastic Straws, Scissors, Tape

This wind instrument can be made very quickly using just straws and tape! We recommend thicker straws if you have them, as they will produce a louder, more resonant tone, but standard straws will work as well. Cut each straw to differing lengths, in pairs. Tape these sets together to make sure they’re lined up. Then, tape all the straws together with one side in a straight line. Blow air into this side and explore the different pitches made by each straw length! Do the longer straws make a higher or lower sound? Make up your own melodies and enjoy! 

Tin Can Drum

Materials: Tin or metal can, paint and/or construction paper, chopsticks or wooden dowels

This tin can drum is super simple and makes great sounds! Simply decorate the outside of an empty coffee container as you wish using construction paper, felt, stickers, etc. If you have paint, we recommend using that so that it doesn’t dampen the sound and you can tap or scrape the side of the can for extra sounds! Use chopsticks or wooden dowels as your drum sticks and explore your new tin drum! How does the top sound? Flip it over and try playing the bottom. How are the sounds different? Enjoy! 


We hope you enjoyed making these simple, homemade instruments at home. These are a great way to have some creative family time away from your screens, using your hands and ears to create new sounds! There are many more homemade instruments out there to explore, so get creative and share your ideas in the comments below! 

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