Electronically march to the beat of your own drum as you experiment with contact microphones and inventive instruments. Collect your old tin cans, rubber bands, sticks, picks, and pots and pans, and build them into an instrument. Listen to the noises from your instrument as they travel through the air and into your ears. Then hear how they change when you attach a small contact microphone and amplifier. Wire batteries and a motor into your musical contraption and let it create notes and noises by itself. Combine your instrument experiment with your friends’ creations and enjoy your piezo cacophony.
Why we like it
What are the qualities we value in this activity?
New Uses for Everyday Objects
This activity will really get you thinking about the sounds made by the objects you use in your daily life. Instead of just looking at a pen as a writing implement and a pan as a cooking container, you will start to see them a instruments waiting to play a rhythm.
STEM as a means, not an end
This activity can introduce Piezos—which are small contact microphones—and amplifiers. These pieces of technology are used not as their own lesson, however, but part of a larger experience about listening to new sounds.
Science and Art Connections
Experimenting with different materials using your contact microphone will help you to gain an understanding of the basic scientific principles of sound, vibration and resonance. You will be improving your science knowledge while artistically composing and arranging sounds to suit your personal musical style.
Playful and Inventive
Even more creative than playing an instrument that already exists is playing one that you invented. You can’t help but enjoy yourself as you jam with your friends to rhythms and music that you’ve made.