Straw Instrument

Level: Basic | Intermediate | Advanced | All

What You Need

  • Straws (fat, skinny and normal)
  • Scissors

Here's What You Do:

  • Take the straw and the scissors, and cut off the tip of the straw to a point, like so.(Try to get both sides to be the same.)
  • Now, gently chew on the straw to soften the tip, and to get the edges to be smooshed together. You would like the straw just below the two tips to be almost touching.
  • Now, put the pointy end in your mouth, and blow really hard. If you do it right (it might take some practice), you will get a very loud sound from the straw instrument!

Now try this:

  • Take a second, slightly bigger straw and slide it over the first. This makes a sort of straw trombone!
  • Try cutting some holes in your straw and play it while covering different holes. This makes a sort of straw clarinet!

Other things to try

  • How do different size straws work? Does it make a difference?
  • You might also try different designs for the tip. Which works best?
  • Does it make a difference how hard you blow?

Fast Facts:

Teachers:

See the Musical Instruments Part I - Woodwinds lesson plan for an in-class inquiry acitvity that builds this straw instrument.

Activity DOCs and PDFs:


SPECIAL THANKS TO BRIAN JONES FOR THE IDEA OF A STRAW FLUTE FROM THE LITTLE SHOP OF PHYSICS AT COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY http://littleshop.phyiscs.colostate.edu.

 

 

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