Bash the Trash Environmental Arts

a CILC Content Provider

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Building musical instruments from trash is fun, challenging and educational! Bash the Trash has been building and performing with found-object instruments for over 30 years, making connections to science, music, sustainability and culture. Early adapters to virtual (because of the carbon savings!), our programs and performances always feature timely information about plastic pollution and climate change. Hands-on instrument-building is possible in most programs using simple materials found in every home. Bash the Trash offers scalable performances, workshops, residencies and 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! 


Programs by Bash the Trash Environmental Arts

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Bash the Trash Solo Performance Series

Bash the Trash performers come from a wide variety of musical backgrounds; unified in our love of science and the environment. Each performer presents an amazing solo show based on their particular background for up to four classrooms; or a...


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BTT Lost at Sea - A Plastic Pollution Odyssey for Full School

A virtual voyage exploring environmental issues endangering our oceans! Featuring our strange and wonderful musical instruments built from reused materials, we take students on an odyssey to the Pacific Gyre - a real-life giant floating island of...


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Global Bash - A Cross-Cultural Musical Exploration for Full School

Global Bash is a virtual intersection of music, culture and social emotional learning. Three musicians from a variety of cultural backgrounds demonstrate unique and wonderful instruments, engaging listeners in vibrant participatory music and...


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Instrument-Building Follow-up Workshops and Residencies

Follow-up workshops reinforce the learning of our virtual performances; or go deeper with a 4+ session virtual Residency. Students work with our highly experienced teaching artists to build an array of musical instruments, and in the residencies...


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Latin American Journeys - A Musical/Cultural Celebration for Full School

A virtual journey through Latin American music and culture! From Argentina to Peru, and the Venezuelan llanos to the festive city of Rio De Janeiro - discover the instruments, rhythms, and languages that make this continent so unique, but most...


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Professional Development - Building Musical Instruments from Reused/Repurposed Materials

Learn how to build a variety of simple but great-sounding musical instruments from found-object materials, explore the science behind how they work, and discover creative ways to use the instruments to enhance classroom and curricular activities...


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Professional Development - Enhancing Literacy with Musical Stories and Soundscapes

Transform your literacy exercises into fun multi-media explorations with simple musical instruments and easy connections - no musical training necessary! Found-object sound sources can energize a range of literacy exercises. You’ll learn how to...


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Sustainable Sounds - Building Instruments from Trash for Full School

Science, Sound and Sustainability - building musical instruments from found objects is fun and educational! We show kids how to build better instruments through science, using the cheapest possible materials. Along the way we explore concepts of...


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The Experimental Orchestra - Building, Composing and Performing with Homemade Instruments

A instrument-building mini-residency with the simplest possible materials! Starts with a fun and educational performance, followed by hands-on instrument building, and culminates with a composition based on a a poem/passage that students are...


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The Science of Sound - A Hands-on Exploration for Classrooms

Building instruments is the best way to learn how sound works! In this fun and engaging 45” classroom workshop we’ll explore and demystify sound, vibrations, and energy. Students will go hands-on with simple instruments, see what slowed-down sound...


More About This Provider

Type of Organization

Independent Provider of Content


Ian Bertles   ian@bashthetrash.com
United States


Primary Disciplines

The programs of Bash the Trash Environmental Arts cover:

Fine Arts
Language Arts/English
Performing Arts
Problem Based Learning
Problem Solving
Professional Development
Social and Emotional Learning( SEL)
Social Studies/History

Awards, Quotes, Testimonials



“We got a lot of great feedback from the teachers. More importantly, our students LOVED it. They were so proud of the instruments they made. Thanks again for all your work!” - Episcopal Academy, Newtown Square PA

“WOW what a program!!!!! The messaging was amazing!!!!!” - New Lebanon Elementary School, Greenwich CT

“The best virtual program we’ve ever had…” - Lakeside School, NY

“The program went really well— it was educational, entertaining, and it went very smoothly. Thank you for all your hard work!” - Earth Day show for American Museum of Natural History

Professional Development:

"That workshop was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!  The presenters were on point with precise, supporting materials. It was so inspiring." NJPAC, Newark NJ

"This was a great workshop that really challenged me to be creative in ways I’ve never explored before.” - NJAEP - From Live to Livestream

“I won't be able to look at art in the same way… The group work/teamwork is priceless: learning to listen, speak up, compromise and work together are skills to last a lifetime!" - Oklahoma Arts Institute 


“I have only words of overwhelming praise for Bash the Trash this year. Brian was SO incredibly patient and helpful as we navigated the technology, and I really am inspired by him as a teacher. I really mean it, that in my opinion he is an asset to music education. He ALWAYS, without fail even once, finds a way to give feedback that builds up a student and never criticizes or shut them down, which is, as I am sure you know, so incredibly important when students are composing music and generating their own ideas. As a fellow teacher I really admire and appreciate how much Brian cares about fostering excitement about music and composing. I also really appreciated Brian asking the difficult questions to our students about the environment and even the idea of changing a lyric from “men” to “all” (instead of men and women) shows how much Brian cares about creating a safe space and positive environment. Our students had so much fun and I cannot wait to share the final product.” - Glen Cove School, NY