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Getting the Band Together

  1. Find people who are willing and even a bit excited about the idea. Being a big ham is the most important characteristic! You need people who aren't afraid to enjoy themselves.
  2. Find some people with a musical background and/or talent. Although you don’t need much musical knowledge to play a kazoo or beat on a coffee can, it is helpful to have at least a few members of your band that know what they are doing. Not only does the music sound better, but they are bound to be more confident about playing in front of people.
  3. Choose songs that are short, catchy and well-known. There is only so much a group of people can do with trash, and if you choose simple songs it is easy to change the words and ask the audience to sing along.
  4. Find some prizes to give to the participants as a thank you. Everyone likes to get a reward, even if it is a small one.
  5. Be sure to practice. Don't overdo it, but rehearsal will help make the band more confident about playing for an audience and will certainly make the "music" more recognizable.
  6. Have fun!!!

Ideas for Instruments

Coffee Can Drum: Use an empty coffee can with the lid on it for the drum. You could also use a pizza pan or a large aluminum tray for this. (You’d be amazed at the "tonal quality" of a pizza pan!) Metal pipes of different lengths also sound great but aren’t very portable, and the turtle shell tried once only made a thud. Old wooden sticks, quarter round, or anything comparable make great drumsticks. Used garbage can lid cymbals will help keep the rhythm.

Washtub Bass Fiddle: This is a most interesting instrument. Turn a metal washtub upside down and put a hook through the center of the bottom. (The washtub will sit upside down and the hook should be visible.) Use a hinge to fasten a mop (or broom, hoe, wooden stick, etc.) to the side of the washtub so you will be able to move the mop closer to and farther from the bucket. Tie a piece of clothes line rope from the top of the mop to the hook in the washtub. Flexing the mop tightens the rope, producing different notes when you strum it. This may take some know-how to build, but you would be surprised at how many people know how to make it!

Rattlers: Empty pop cans or plastic bottles (milk jugs, etc.) are ideal for this instrument. Fill them with paper clips, rocks or beans and shake away!

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