How to Build a Slide Whistle

By Marc Wright

Things Needed

  • PVC pipe, 12 inches long and 1 inch diameter
  • PVC pipe, 10 inches long and 1/2 inch diameter
  • Hand drill
  • Electrical tape
  • Wooden dowel, 1 inch diameter
  • Craft glue
Slide whistles are a way to introduce children to musical instruments.

A slide whistle is a woodwind instrument made up of two components: the flute and the slide. Notes are created by sliding a tube in and out of the flute component. Air escapes a hole located at the bottom of the slide, and different notes are created depending on the length of the player's slide. Slide whistles can be used to introduce children to musical instruments and they are also commonplace in many jazz ensembles. They are simple to play and can produce melodies as well as sound effects. Slide whistles can be made from a variety of materials, including PVC piping.

Plug the end of the 12-inch PVC pipe with the dowel. The dowel should be shaved by about 1/8 inch to ensure air passes through the pipe.

Glue the dowel into place once the air is passing through the pipe. This creates the flute component of the whistle.

Drill a hole into the end of the 10-inch pipe.

Cover the end of the 10-inch PVC pipe using the electrical tape. This acts as the slide.

Slide the 10-inch pipe into the open end of the 12-inch pipe. The taped end of the smaller pipe should be facing outwards at the end of the whistle.

Slide the smaller pipe up and down using your fingers while blowing into the end with the dowel. The slide of the smaller pipe affects the pitch of the whistle.

Warning

Take care when cutting your piping and drilling holes. Always wear appropriate protective clothing.

About the Author

Marc Wright has been writing professionally since 2004. He has been published in the literary magazine "Things," as well as the student newspaper "The Demon" as a music critic. In 2009 Wright graduated from De Montfort University of Leicester with a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and English.