Professional Development - Building Musical Instruments from Reused/Repurposed Materials

by  Bash the Trash Environmental Arts

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Many school teachers have built simple shakers or rainsticks in their classrooms.  But constructing musical instruments from reused materials can be a springboard for students to learn about a web of curricular connections that include environmental issues, science, math, literacy, social studies and of course, music.  This professional development workshop will prepare the music or general education classroom teacher to not only build musical instruments, but also how to play and compose for them in creative and educational ways.  As students build a variety of instruments and learn how they work, they are also exploring the concepts of reused and recycled materials as resources, sustainability, and the waste-stream cycle.  Each instrument also teaches a lesson in the science of sound and the families of instruments, and leads to a deeper understanding of the cultural use of music. Multiple intelligences, arts assessments and state and national learning standards will be addressed throughout this participatory, hands-on and fun workshop.  Each teacher will bring home several musical instruments, a 30+ page study guide with illustrated step-by-step instrument building instructions, sample lesson plans, materials and vocabulary lists, assessment ideas, and a bibliography.

Multiple session or full-day sessions can go deeper into the subject, building more complex instruments for deeper scientific investigation, as well as creating more complex and sophisticated musical stories or other expressive media. 

Add an additional teaching artist to make Dance connections.

Program Rating

This program has not yet been evaluated.
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About This Program


Multipoint: $840.00
Point to Point: $840.00

$840 for 60" program with one presenter for up to 30 participants at one or more points
$1080 for 90"
$1320 for 120"



Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) Pre-K Students, Kindergarten, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Teacher(s)/Educator(s), Parent, Adult Learners Teaching Artists Public Library: Library Staff

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:


Primary Disciplines

Fine Arts, Literacy, Performing Arts, Problem Solving, Sciences, STEM, Writing

Program Delivery Mode

Zoom or YouTube Live

Booking Information

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Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

If for any reason the recipient wishes to reschedule up to 24 hours before the program, Bash the Trash will make every effort to accommodate the rescheduling.

If for any reason the recipient wishes to cancel a program, there is no fee up to 24 hours before the program. Cancellation within 24 hours of program, with no rescheduling possible, entails payment of the full fee.

However, in the case of a weather or pandemic-related cancellation within 24 hours of program, please contact us and we'll work it out.

About This Provider

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Bash the Trash Environmental Arts

United States

Bash the Trash programs are about music, science, culture, arts and the environment! Centered around the concept of sustainability, we’ve been building and performing with found-object instruments for over 30 years, making connections to plastic pollution and climate change. 

Over time our programs have evolved into a wide range of musical and cultural experiences that go beyond homemade instruments. Our diverse crew of presenters offer a series of programs based on their individual artistic skills and cultural backgrounds, making connections with students through their amazing experiences. We’re eager to interact with audiences through the arts, Q&A and conversation to create true cultural and artistic exchanges. 

Hands-on instrument-building or art-making is possible in most programs using simple reused/repurposed materials. Bash the Trash offers workshop/performances and multiple-session residencies as well as fun and useful professional development for educators, all closely aligned to national and local standards. Plus Bash the Trash programs are great for special days like Earth Day, National Recycling Day and World Water Day! 

Ian Bertles

Program Details


1. Introductions, overview, Q&A
2. Instrument Build 1 - 10" to build whatever you can
3. Reflect on building; intro to instrument science
4. Demo - Science and Instruments
5. Instrument Build 2
6. Creating Musical Stories
7. Performance
8. Reflect/Discuss how to bring this down to the participants' classrooms


1. Learn how to build a variety of simple instruments from reused materials
2. Understand some of the science of sound and how instruments work
3. Explore several ways to use simple instruments to reinforce classroom curriculum
4. Engage in fun excises designed to participants hands-on experiences to take directly back to the classroom
5. Look at the resources available to facilitate classroom use of the material

Standards Alignment

National Standards

This program makes connections to:

Science: Environment, Climate Change, Plastic Pollution
Music: Cultural music, instrument families, rhythm
Cultural Studies

In addition, NextGen Science Standards that *can* be covered are:

1st Grade
1-PS4-1, Wave Properties: Waves and Their Applications Technologies for Information Transfer
1-PS4-1 Plan and conduct investigations to provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound and that sound can make materials vibrate.
1-PS4-4 Use tools and materials to design and build a device that uses light or sound to solve the problem of communicating over a distance.
Crosscutting Concept: Cause and Effect

2nd Grade
2-PS1 Matter and its Interactions
2-PS1 Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.
2-PS2 Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.
Crosscutting Concept: Patterns; Cause and Effect
K-2 ETS1 Engineering Design
K-2-ETS1-2 Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
Crosscutting Concept: Structure and Function

3rd Grade
3-PS2 Motion and Stability
3-PS2-1 Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
3-PS2-1 Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
Crosscutting Concept: Patterns; Cause and Effect

4th Grade
4-PS3 Energy
4-PS3-2 Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
4-PS4 Waves
4-PS4-1 Develop a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude and wavelength and that waves can cause objects to move.
4PS4-3 Generate and compare multiple solutions that use patterns to transfer information.
Crosscutting Concept: Patterns; Cause and Effect

5th Grade
5-PS1 Matter and its Interactions
5-PS1-1 Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen.
5-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity
5-ESS3-2 Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural
Earth processes on humans.
Crosscutting Concept: Cause and Effect
5-ESS3, Earth and Human Activity
5-ESS3.C: Human activities in agriculture, industry and everyday life have had major effects on the land, vegetation, streams, ocean, air and even outer space. But individuals and communities are doing things to help protect Earth’s resources and environments.
Crosscutting Concept: Systems and System Models
3-5-ETS1 Engineering Design
3-5-ETS1-1 Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Crosscutting Concept: Influence of Science, Engineering and Technology on Society and the Natural World

Middle School
MS-PS4 Waves and their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
MS-PS4-2 Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials

High School
HS-PS3 Energy
HS-PS3-2 Develop and use models to illustrate that energy at the macroscopic scale can be accounted for as a combination of energy associated with the motions of particles (objects) and energy associated with the relative positions of particles (objects).

State Standards

Available upon request