About This Project
by
Katherin Fitzgerald, Music Teacher


This is the fifth year that I have taught this instrument-building project and I am always impressed by the creativity and inventiveness of my students from year to year. Once you think you’ve “seen it all” as far as instrument possibilities, you are surprised by a new and creative invention that required “out of the box” thinking!

Between the two elementary schools that I work at in Southington, CT, approximately 125 fifth grade students built instruments and participated in this project!

For this project I usually collaborate with fellow music colleagues, as well as with the 5th grade team, to put together a "Science of Sound" Unit which not only supports the "Instruments of the Orchestra" Unit in General Music, but the "Sound and Light" Unit the students do in their 5th grade Science classes.

The students were asked to create an inexpensive instrument from everyday household items and complete a worksheet about their instrument, as well as give a brief class demonstration of their instrument.

The submitted worksheet included what materials they used to build it, how the sound is produced, how the pitch (high vs. low sounds) are controlled and how dynamics (volume or loud vs. soft sounds) are controlled.