music instrument

How to Make Simple Music Instrument

How to Make Simple Music Instrument This activity will help children discover the relationship between the rate (speed) of vibration and the pitch (high-low) of sound.

Material Needed

  1.  50 cm (20 in.) of mono filament fish line with a wooden dowel 10 cm (4 in.) long attached to one end
  2. Additional dowel
  3. Shoe box with lid
  4. Toothpick
  5. Pencil


  1. Put the shoe box on the edge of a table or desk.
  2. Remove the lid, make a hole in one end of the box with your pencil, thread the fish line through the hole, and secure it with the toothpick (see in diagram 1)
  3. Open shoe box Put the lid on the box and stretch the fish line lengthwise across the top of the box. Put the additional dowel under the fish line near one end of the lid (see in diagram 2)

diagram music instrument

diagram music instrument

4. Box with lid Slowly pull down on the dowel and pluck the fish line. What do you hear? What do you see?

5. As you pluck the line, pull down on the dowel to stretch it tighter. Watch and listen.  What do you see?

diagram music instrument 2

diagram number 2 music instrument

What do you hear?  Try to play a simple tune. What might happen if you cut a hole in the lid of the shoe box? Try it.

For critical thinker: experiment with different material for the string on your home made instrument. Try different type and weights of the line, string, fine wire, or whatever is available. Which one can you get the highest note with? Which one can you get the lowest note with?

Teacher Guide:

This activity should help children discover the relationship between the rate (speed) of vibration and the pitch (high-low) of sound. You may want to relate this activity to the previous one with rubber band. The hole cut it in the lid will increase the resonance. Resonance is a way of increasing the intensity of a sound by causing one object (vibration fish line) to create a sympathetic vibration of about the same frequency in another object (the wall of the shoe box).

The dowel on the top of the lid serves as a bridge to keep the string elevated enough to vibrate freely; stringed the instrument use the same principles. A guitar, violin, cello, or viola could be used for comparison.


SKILL: Observing, classifying, measuring, predicting, communicating, comparing and contrasting, identifying and controlling, variables, experimenting.

See also

How can you make bottled music?

How to See your voice and other sounds

How can the energy of sound cause something to move?

Related video source Kidspot

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