How to Make Your Own Musical Instrument Step by Step

By Charlotte Johnson

Whether you're looking for an idea for a science project or just searching for entertainment on a rainy day, you can make your own musical instrument out of a few common materials. Making a musical instrument allows you to be creative while learning about scientific principles of sound, such as vibration and pitch. This design, which creates a hybrid stringed–percussive instrument from a coffee can and rubber bands, is simple enough for children to complete, which makes it an ideal classroom or play date activity.

Empty a coffee can. Wash it out and dry it thoroughly.

Paint the outside of the coffee can if you wish to add your own decorative touch to the instrument. Allow the paint to dry completely before progressing to the next step.

Stretch three or four rubber bands around the coffee can lengthwise so that the bands cross the can's mouth.

Pluck the rubber bands to make various pitches. Tap the bottom of the can to create rhythms. Practice the instrument until you can create pitches and rhythms simultaneously.

Change the pitches of the instrument by using rubber bands of different thicknesses and sizes. You also can change the pitch by wedging small wooden dowels or small sticks between the rubber bands and the can. This increases the tension on the rubber bands, which raises the pitch.

About the Author

Charlotte Johnson is a musician, teacher and writer with a master's degree in education. She has contributed to a variety of websites, specializing in health, education, the arts, home and garden, animals and parenting.