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Rock Out With Your Own Hand-Made Instruments!

Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to play musical instruments that you make yourself? It’s really easy to do, and if you know how to use a glue gun you don’t even need Mom or Dad to help you! (Though they should supervise.) Here’s how to make a drum, a guitar and a tambourine to get started your very own rock and roll band!

Make Your Own Colorful Bongo Drum

This is a really fun and easy project to make, and it looks really cool when it’s finished. You can play this drum by holding it between your knees, or hang it around your neck. It’s great as a project for a musical birthday theme party too.

Things You’ll Need To Make Your Bongo Drum

  • Oatmeal or coffee can with plastic cover
  • Yarn, lots of colors
  • White glue
  • Scissors
  • Sequins, adhesive rhinestones, other decorations


  1. Make sure the inside of the can is empty and clean.
  2. Cut a small hole in one side of the plastic lid, and another small hole right across from the first one.
  3. Take a piece of yarn (any color) and string it through the holes. Make sure the yarn is long enough to hang the drum from your neck. Tie a knot in the ends to secure the yarn.
  4. Glue the lid to the top of the can to secure it.
  5. Cover the outside of the can with glue (not the bottom), and wind the yarn around it, covering the entire can. You can use different colors to make it look really cool.
  6. Glue on any decorations you wish. Remember, don’t decorate the top part. This is where you will hit the drum.
  7. Let the finished drum sit overnight to dry completely, and it’ll be ready to play by the morning!

Make A Guitar You Can Really Play!

Of course, this isn’t exactly like a real guitar, but it’s loads of fun to make and to play, and an essential part of your rock band!

Things You’ll Need

  • Shoe box lid
  • Rubber bands (multi colored ones look really cool)
  • Long Ruler (18 inches) or flat stick, like a paint stir
  • Glue gun and glue
  • Poster paints, any color


  1. Paint the shoe box lid and ruler any color you like, and set them aside to dry.
  2. Once the paint is dry, take the elastic bands and stretch them around the lid. These will be the strings that you strum. If you use different sizes of elastic bands, they will play different notes.
  3. Using the glue gun, glue one end of the ruler to the back of the box (guitar body). This will be the neck of your guitar. Wait to dry, and now your guitar is ready to wail!

Make Some Noise With A Hand-Made Tambourine

Here is one more percussion instrument for your rock and roll band, and it’s really easy to make! If this is an activity as part of a kids party, omit the painting and use solid color or patterned paper plates.

Things You’ll Need


  1. Paint the outsides of both plates with poster paint, any color. Once dry, glue the two plates together, bottom sides out.
  2. Make holes around the outside of the plates with the hole punch.
  3. Decorate with glitter, rhinestones or whatever you think would look funky.
  4. Tie jingle bells to each hole with string or yarn. Now, your tambourine is ready to play.

Now that you have your instruments ready, gather up a couple of band members, practice for a while, and give a concert for your family and friends!

Post written by Chris Molnar of

Recall News from CPSC

Musical Shaker Instrument Recalled by Woodstock Percussion Due to Laceration and Choking Hazard

Picture of recalled shaker; the handles can detach from the shaker, posing laceration and choking hazards by exposing rough edges and allowing access to small steel pellets and a plastic plug.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of product: Gripper Shaker musical instrument

Units: About 9,400 in the U.S. and 700 in Canada

Importer: Woodstock Percussion Inc., of Shokan, N.Y.

Hazard: The handle can detach from the shaker, exposing a rough edge and posing a laceration hazard. The detached handle also exposes small steel pellets and a plastic plug which pose choking hazards.

The marking “B4” is printed on the rounded top of each shakerIncidents/Injuries: The company received one report from a consumer that the handles on two Gripper Shakers detached. No injuries have been reported.

Description: The shakers are plastic musical instruments, 5.5 inches long, with rounded, egg-shaped tops containing steel pellets and open circular handles. They come in blue and green and are sold separately. The marking “B4” is printed on the rounded top of each shaker.

Sold at: Mail-order catalogs, websites and retail stores nationwide between August 2010 and March 2011 for about $5.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the product immediately and contact Woodstock Percussion Inc. to receive a $7 refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Woodstock Percussion, Inc. toll free at (866) 543-2848 anytime, via email at, or visit the website at


Kahn Enterprises Recalls Beeni Baby Hats Due to Asphyxiation Hazard

Picture of recalled Baby Hat; The Beeni Baby Hat has been recalled due to an asphyxiation hazardThe following product safety recall was voluntarily conducted by the firm in cooperation with the CPSC. Consumers should stop using the product immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Beeni Baby Hats

Units: About 35

Distributor: Kahn Enterprises LLC, Mendota Heights, Minn.

Hazard: A baby can spit up during use, posing an asphyxiation hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported

Description: The recalled baby hats are made of cotton and spandex. They have two straps sewn to the sides and a removeable plastic pacifier holder. The hat is available in sizes small, medium and large, and in pink, blue, green, flower print, blue stripe and blue print. Model number 125867 is on a tag sewn into the back inner rim of the cap.

Sold at: Beeni Baby’s website from January 2009 through May 2011 for about $25.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the hats and contact Kahn Enterprises to receive a full refund. Kahn Enterprises will provide consumers with a postage paid label to return the product. The firm is directly contacting consumers who purchased the recalled baby hats.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, email Kahn Enterprises at, visit the firm’s website at or call the firm collect at (612) 310-4053.

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More On Music Lessons

Today, my older son not only goes back to school after the holiday break, he also starts back at piano lessons.  My son has a love/hate relationship with the piano – he LOVES to think he can play the piano, but he HATES to practice.  And, I kind of agree with him.  Practicing 30 minutes a day means you are sitting AT THE PIANO for thirty minutes a day, and he’s not necessarily one to sit for 30 minutes for anything.  But, the payoff is so worth it – he can read music, he’s pretty good at playing, and we finally have a few more songs in our repetoire other than “Hot Cross Buns” and “Jingle Bells”.

I am asked fairly regularly when is a good age to start piano lessons.  Actually, the decision was pretty much made for me by our piano teacher.  She requests that children be in first grade before taking lessons from her.  And, she has a good point.  Children need to be able to count and have some basic reading skills tucked away before embarking on the journey of piano lessons.  Math, reading and music are so interrelated that having some basic number and counting concepts, as well as letter and word experience, is probably the most important key to success with learning to play.  Now, first grade is not the end-all age, but most kids have these skills easily down by first grade.  Some are ready earlier, and some may need to wait another year. 

Another question I am often asked is how long my son will take lessons?  Well, it is somewhat up to him.  Right now, he doesn’t like practicing, but we’re working through that.  We’ve broken his daily practice schedule into two 15-minute sessions to make it easier on him.  And, we let him have one (sometimes two) “free days” a week.  However, if he comes to a point where he is not productive or progressing, then it isn’t a battle worth fighting (and paying for!).  My goal is for him to have at least 3 years of lessons (he’s in year 2 right now), ideally 5 years.  He is already talking about what other instruments he would like to play: guitar, trumpet (his grandfather played the trumpet) and drums (of course).  Piano is an excellent foundation for those other instruments and will make learning something new that much easier on him.  Of course, should he wish to continue to take piano lessons, we will definitely go with that idea as well!

The biggest key to our son’s success with piano has been establishing a routine for practicing.  He does best after school, after his homework, and after a snack.  Our timer is set for fifteen minutes, and his teacher has “assignments” he must complete each week.  He has a series of warm ups he does at each practice session, then the remaining time is spent working on pieces his teacher requests.  He plays through them a minimum of three times, more if there are some tough spots.  Each week, his teacher also assigns theory “homework”, and he chooses the practice session he wishes to complete it.  It usually takes the entire 15 minutes, so he usually knocks it out pretty quickly.  He practices every weekday and one day over the weekend, subject to change with our family’s schedule of course.  And, over the holidays and parts of the summer when he doesn’t have lessons, we cut back his practice time to 15 minutes a day.  It gives him a bit of a break while still keeping his mind and his fingers on task.

If nothing else, my husband and I feel that our children will gain a world of knowledge about music, patterns, structure, routine and beauty through their piano lessons.  And, most importantly, they will grow an appreciation for performed music and those that are accomplished at their art, whether they are or not!

Music For More Memory

Way back when I was in grade school, I took a course offered through our local Lion’s Club on increasing your memory.  One of the key elements of the class was music.  There was always instrumental music playing, mostly in the background, but just enough that I noticed it.  The rhythm of the music remarkably made me feel as if I could focus with more clarity and concentrate on the things we were doing in the session.  See, music pulls on the right side, or creative side, of your brain.  The right side is also where our long term memory is controlled.  Most information we try to learn and retain imbeds itself in the left side, or analytical side, of the brain.  This side also controls our short-term memory.  So, to help transfer information we learn from the left to right side, we can use music either as background or in a lyrical fashion.

Music can help anyone learn concepts.  Songs can be “background” noise like I had in the course I took, providing focus and helping with concentration.  Or, they can be used in a more integrated fashion by setting the concepts to be learned to music, much like learning the ABC’s through the ABC song.  Learning facts and concepts through rhymes, catchy tunes and song lyrics is a great way to catch the attention of children, even the most reluctant learner.

Educational Insights is a company that has taken the concept of learning through song to new heights.  Their products include geography, grammar, history, and math.  What a terrific way to teach young children to learn their multiplication facts or help older children remember the capitals for each state!  Learning through music and song lyrics is a great way to utilize both hemispheres of the brain, making for a more solid retention of information.

Check out the selection of CDs we have today.  They make great stocking stuffers, birthday gifts, or a “just because” purchase!

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