Search form


"Shake, Rattle, and Roll"


Return to That's Entertainment: Music Lessons for Every Grade



  • Arts & Humanities:
    --Dance, Music
    --Visual Arts
  • Educational Technology
  • Science
    --Physical Science


  • Pre K
  • K-2
  • 3-5


Brief Description

Students design an original musical instrument and perform a song for the class.



Students will
  • design and build an original musical instrument.
  • use the instrument to play a song for the class.



Music, instrument, art, design, sound

Materials Needed

  • paper and pencils
  • scissors, tape, and glue
  • assorted art supplies, especially recycled containers
  • beans, pebbles, and other materials used to make noise inside containers string
  • Internet access (optional)


Lesson Plan

All kinds of handmade instruments can make interesting sounds. In this activity, students create original instruments and use them to play a song for other class members.

Discuss the instruments students in the classroom play or those they recognize from the orchestra. How do those instruments produce sound? For background and an online tour, if desired, go online to Instruments of the Orchestra from the San Francisco Symphony.

Now turn the discussion to homemade instruments. What kind of instruments can easily be made with materials found in the classroom or the kitchen at home? How can those instruments produce sound? You might visit the The Virtual Museum of Music Inventions to examine projects created by other students. Then have the students consider how they might create an original instrument from art supplies and recycled materials. Students may work in small groups or individually to design a new instrument on paper.

For young students, you may prefer to have the student groups follow the instructions to create one of the instruments at 9 Easy-to-Make Musical Instruments for Kids.

Once students' plans have been made, they will build their instruments. They should add artistic features that make the instruments colorful and attractive. The hands-on portion of the creation of the instruments may also be completed as homework.

Add an element of fun to this project by having the students select a song that they can play with their instruments and perform in their groups for the entire class.


Collect and display the student-made instruments. With the exception of young students who rely on the instrument instructions, student instruments should be original and produce some musical sound. All students should willingly participate with their groups and perform for the class.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Cara Bafile




Originally published 11/19/2004
Last updated 03/25/2015