Package 2-1: Creative Arts – Tuneful Trash

Create musical instruments from rubbish or recycled materials found at home.

Week 3 - Package 1 - Year 5 & 6 Creative Arts- Tuneful Trash

Things your child will need

Have these things available so your child can complete this task.


  • Computer

  • Recycled materials around the home that can be repurposed for instruments

  • Carrots

Back up

  • Smartphone

  • Empty bottle and small objects that can be placed inside to make a shaker

  • Other waste materials around the home

Before your child starts

  • Consider and discuss what music is.

  • What instruments can be made using recycled materials?

  • How can we make instruments using only what we have at home?

  • Parental help may be required to construct instruments depending upon the nature of the child’s creation.

  • Encourage the child to be as creative as possible and to enjoy experimenting with sound, repurposing items, testing and re-working them where needed and decorating them too.

  • If making a carrot clarinet or similar, a drill is required and measurement skills. This will require parental help.

What your child needs to do

  1. Watch this video about ‘Tuneful Trash’ on how to create musical instruments from rubbish or recycling materials at home.

  2. Watch this footage of instruments made by students living near a tip in Paraguay. The now world famous ‘Landfill Harmonic Orchestra’ is a truly inspiring example of using recycled instruments in new ways.

  3. Explore a variety of examples of recycled instruments and the way they can be made and played. Australian musician Jon Madin has made numerous ‘wacky’ instruments using only recycled materials.

  4. Watch other creative examples of how to make an instrument using just a carrot and using other items typically found around the house. This example requires some adult assistance as it involves a small amount of cutting, measuring and drilling.

What your child can do next

  1. Watch the videos described previously for inspiration.

  2. Search for recycled or waste materials around your home that may be appropriate. Ask permission first before repurposing.

  3. Think about the different types of instruments that could be made using materials around the house.

  4. Experiment with ways that a composition can be made using these homemade instruments.

  5. Watch this video from ‘Tuneful Trash’ to get some inspirational ideas about how to compose music using homemade instruments out of waste or recycled materials.

  6. Watch this example of the ‘Water Walk’ by John Cage to question what music is and how a composition can be unique to the ‘instruments’ available.

Options for your child

Activity too hard?

Think of the most basic instruments that can be made using rice, buttons or pebbles in a bottle to make a shaker. Play this along with a favourite song.

Activity too easy?

Make multiple instruments. Record the instruments made and use these for a composition that can be sampled into an app such as Garage Band.

Extension/Additional activity

Use the instruments created to make a composition. This would need to be done by recording the sounds in an app such as GarageBand and then exploring ways of layering the sounds in.

Video/record your own composition like John Cage’s ‘Water Walk’ example.

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