Rhythm Band Instruments

A rhythm band is a collection of musicians who use various types of percussion instruments to make noise in rhythm to a musical selection played live or on a record player, tape, or CD.

In this project, you will learn how to make four different rhythm instruments.

This project is rated: MODERATE

Materials needed:
  • Wood
  • Plastic pop or water bottle
  • Dowel rods
  • Empty can with plastic top, such as a coffee can
  • Optional: Drill and bolt

A saw may be needed to cut some of the pieces, therefore, an adult should do the necessary wood cutting.

Project Instructions

  1. Wood Blocks: Cut two blocks of wood similar to the ones shown in the illustration at right. The blocks can be any size that is convenient to hold in each hand. With one block in your right hand and the other block in your left hand, strike the two blocks together in rhythm to the music.
  2. Wood Sticks: You need two sticks. These can be short (about 12 inch) pieces of tree branches with the bark removed; or you can cut two lengths of one inch diameter dowel rod. Holding a stick in each hand, strike them together in time to the music. Here is an illustration of some sticks at right.
  3. Tom-tom: The are various types of containers that may be used for a tom-tom. A 3-pound empty coffee can that has a plastic lid is suitable. There are also some round cereal boxes that have plastic lids. Pat the top of the tom-tom with your hand in rhythm to the music. You may want to alternate from one hand to another because you may find it easier to maintain the necessary beat.
  4. Maraca: A maraca is a hollow container with a handle. The container has some small stones (or beads) in it. It is very much like a baby’s rattle. They are frequently made from gourds, coconuts, or some other type of hollow container. In this project we will make a maraca using a plastic pop bottle. Although the maraca could be made from any size bottle, I recommend the 16 ounce size. Start with an empty bottle. Rinse it out thoroughly and dry it on the inside. (You can insert a cloth or paper towel into the bottle and using a stick to push the cloth, you can wipe the inside of the bottle.) Put a few small stones or beads in the bottle. Then put a stick into the opening to use as a handle. Your maraca should look something like the illustration at right. The handle can be a dowel rod or a piece of broom stick. The handle should have a diameter that fits snuggly into the bottle opening. You can glue the handle into the bottle (or if you think you might want to remove it to add or remove stones, you can drill a hole through the neck of the bottle and the handle and fasten them together with a bolt.)

Rhythm Band instruments
Rhythm Band instrument
Rhythm Band instrument
Rhythm Band instrument
Rhythm Band instrument

You can make some other rhythm instruments such as a tambourine made from a disposable pie pan.

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