This video is a great launch : Cymatics: Science Vs. Music – Nigel Stanford
you may watch it several times, my students could never get enough. There are a bunch or partner videos that break down each section depending on the amount of time you have to watch them all
This is the other video you want to show: it is all about a town that uses garbage to create beautiful instruments and music
Turning Trash Into Beautiful Music
Launch the project with telling students that just like in the video we are going to use Synth kits to produce sound and manipulate the sounds using recycled materials. We are going to challenge ourselves to produce instruments that do not exist yet…until today!
Use a Design Thinking strategy here to help students develop ideas before getting started. What is Design Thinking? http://www.edutopia.org/what-is-design-thinking-for-educators
On large chart paper have student teams make two columns: one side is instruments that they like, the other side to do come up with solution for instruments that they could produce from every day recycled materials.
Materials: it might be helpful to demonstrate how different materials manipulate sounds differently. Have students make predictions on why this is and what is causing the sounds to be different. Use the same circuit sound with different materials: tin pie plate, plastic cups in different sizes, aluminum foil, and different size boxes.
Team Work is KEY!
Once students have a good idea of their direction they can get started producing their sounds. They should experiment with several different ideas but have a clear direction of where they are going. They should keep in mind what materials they are going to sue to manipulate their sounds.
*note: you may want to have a few items they can use to experiment with: cans, cardboard boxes, cellophane, anything that will change the sounds
Trying it all
Taking the Learning Deeper and Broader
Once they have their sounds they need to start to build their ‘instruments’ They should test, rethink, rebuild, re-test…encourage them to not just be happy with their first creations.
They should keep a record of what they created, changed, recreated to show their progress of their thinking
Once they are ready they should record their sounds. You can do this with a simple phone or laptop, webcam…anyway they can record.
1. Take music software and turn the recorded sounds into an ‘album’ or recorded songs
2. Bring in math: start you own band and sign with a record label
3. Art: make a music video for you music
4. Bring in the history of music in your area and have them base their music in history
Battle of the Bands
Team presentations - Let them come up with how they want to present their work. We did it as a gallery show and had all the animated music videos playing on the big screen.