Make a Musical Instrument

The Virtual Museum of Music Inventions

Lesson by Elizabeth Rexford
Lesson Updated Spring, 2001 by
Sandra Flowers and Elizabeth Rexford
Longfellow School, Oak Park, Illinois


 

Introduction

You will create, name and decorate your own musical instrument and you will write an essay telling about how you made it.

The Task

You will create a musical instrument, based on what you have learned in science and music classes about sound and how sound is produced.

You will create a list of materials and a list of the steps needed to make the instrument.

You will write a five paragraph essay about your instrument.

You will format and save your essay in word processing.


Resources

Books in the school library or the public library about how to make a musical instrument.

Computers, with word processing and access to the Internet.

A guest speaker who will give you tips about making a musical instrument.


The Process

1. Get ideas for your instrument from books or the Internet. (The Virtual Museum of Music Inventions)

2. Gather recycled materials you might want to use: heavy cardboard tubes, metal tubes, scrap wood, old guitar strings, flower pots, string, wooden boxes, plastic tubes, metal scraps, old pot covers, plastic cups, etc.

3. Make your instrument. Use glue, nails or tape to hold it together.

4. Decorate your instrument. Use paint, glitter, or other items.

5. Play your instrument. Can you improve your sound? Can you make a resonator so it is louder?

6. Name your instrument.

7. Create a list of the materials you used. Create another list which describes the steps needed to make the instrument.

8. Write and edit a five paragraph essay about how you made the instrument and how it produces sound. Try to include these words: pitch, volume, resonance, tone quality.

9. Use word processing to format and save your essay.

10. Demonstrate your instrument to your class. Explain how it was made and show how to play it.


Evaluation

Evaluation Rubric

Activities

Exceeds

Meets

Striving

Not yet

Students write a five paragraph expository essay that describes the process of making the instrument and the students' impressions of the project. The paragraphs would include these items: problems faced and solutions, materials needed, procedure used to make the instrument, evaluation of the student's project.

Student writes five paragraphs, which include an introduction, body and conclusion.

Each paragraph has a topic sentence with a variety of transitional words and a concluding statement.

The essay contains no spelling or grammatical errors.

The essay maintains its focus, is well-organized, uses interesting details.

The essay cites references to outside materials.

Student writes five paragraphs, which include an introduction, body and conclusion.

Spelling and grammar do not interfere with the intelligiblity of the writing.

The essay maintains its focus, is well-organized, uses interesting details.

With teacher support, the student writes a five paragraph essay, which includes an introduction, body and conclusion.

Spelling and grammatical errors interfere with the intelligibilty of the writing.

The essay may lack focus and organization.

With teacher support, the student is unable to write a five paragraph essay.

Students use the computer to make a word-processing document which will be emailed to The Virtual Museum of Music Inventions.  

Students will open a word processing document, type the document, save it, edit the document, format the document, and use a spelling checker.

Students will add visual elements and/or links to the Internet.

Students will open a word processing document, type the document, save it, edit the document, format the document and use a spelling checker.

With teacher support,students will open a word processing document, type the document, save it, edit the document, format the document and use a spelling checker.

The teacher formats and types parts of the student essay.

Students create a list or a graphic organizer which outlines a plan, design, and a procedure to make an original musical instrument, using recyclable materials.

Student creates a list or an organizer which lists all the materials used.

Student will list, in a logical sequence, the steps required to make the instrument.

Students explain where the materials may be found.

Student creates a list or an organizer which lists all the materials used.

Student will list,in a logical sequence, the steps required to make the instrument.

Student creates a list of materials used which lacks one or two key items.

Student omits one or two steps required to make the instrument.

Student creates an incomplete list.

Student is unable to list,in a logical sequence, the steps required to make the instrument.

Students create a musical instrument, using recycleable materials.

The musical instrument demonstrates changes of pitch and/or volume. It produces a sound which is distinctive and clearly heard.

The instrument shows evidence of very careful craftsmanship with original design elements.

The musical instrument demonstrates changes in pitch and/or volume. The instrument produces a clearly-heard sound.

The instrument shows evidence of careful craftsmanship.

The musical instrument cannot demonstrate changes of pitch or volume. The instrument produces a sound which is weak and cannot be heard clearly.

The instrument shows evidence of hasty construction and looks messy.

The musical instrument does not produce any noticeable sound.

The instrument is incomplete and has no design elements.

Student presents a demonstration of the instruments he or she has created, identifying the instrument family to which their instrument belongs, explaining how the sound is produced and demonstrating how the instrument is played.

The student explains how the instrument is made and can demonstrate how the instrument is made and how it produces sound.

The students correctly uses the terms "pitch", "volume", "resonance", and "tone quality".

 

The student explains how the instrument is made and can demonstrate how the instrument is made and how it produces sound.

The student correctly uses the terms "pitch", and "volume".

 

 

 

 

With prompting, the student can answer questions about how the instrument is made and how it produces sound, correctly using the terms "pitch", and "volume".

 

 

 

 

 

With prompting, the student is unable to answer questions about how the instrument is made and how it produces sound, correctly using the terms "pitch", and "volume".

 

 

 


 

Conclusion

By making a musical instrument and writing about it, you will show what you know about sound. You will also show how important it can be to try out new ideas, experiment, and try other ideas to improve your project.

 Last updated June, 2001 by Sandra Flowers and Elizabeth Rexford
Based on a template from
The WebQuest Page