Curriculum Objectives:
• To develop participants' ability to interpret music and sound by ear
• To enhance participants' ability to communicate non-verbally
• To expose participants to many different instruments and the sounds they make
• To teach the steps associated with the development of percussion
• To emphasize an appreciation of the environment
• To learn creative ways to reuse obsolete objects


Program Description:
Participants will create and learn to play a variety of percussion instruments out of found objects. They will experience the qualities of color, tone and texture that percussion instruments create and explore the reason they create such different sounds.
The family of percussion instruments, although formally divided into two groups (idiophones and membranophones), can be informally divided into four groups for a more basic understanding of percussion. Anything that can be rubbed, scraped, shaken or struck to create a pulse creates percussion. Brian will briefly discuss types of sound, helping the students to see, hear and feel the color, tone and texture of percussion instruments. Following this introduction, the students will begin making four different instruments: sandpaper blocks, picnic plate drums with mallets, sump pump guiro with sticks, and either film canister or plate shakers. Each of these represents one of the four basic groups of percussion.
After they finish making the instruments, the students will practice some basic techniques. All will learn rudimentary short and long strokes, the guiro players will learn Brazilian and Cuban techniques, and the ensemble will play together as a drum circle.
Throughout the program, Brian will remind the participants to pay close attention to their own environments, so that they will learn to listen for all the different rhythms and percussive sounds around them. For example, one person might hear rhythm and percussion in a gas pump, another in the turn signal of a car, and a third in the sound of a jackhammer.


Additional materials provided to instructors for classroom use:
• Detailed outline of presentation
• Charts outlining percussion instrument families (membranophones/idiophones)
• World map showing geographic distribution of world instruments
• Multiple choice pre- or post-quiz
• Lesson-reinforcing games: Crossword puzzle and Connect-the-dots
• 16–20 people as a fully participatory program (60 minutes), or
• full assembly program with demonstration for larger audience (45-60 minutes)
Recommended Ages: 3 and up


Brian Melick, drummer and multi-hand percussionist, has taught workshops and masterclasses throughout the Northeast and Canada. He has been a featured facilitator at Music Therapists International Conferences and Percussive Arts Society's International Conventions, and serves on the World Percussive Committee for the Percussive Arts Society. He has taught people of all ages, from pre-schoolers to senior citizens, whose musical education ranged from none to years of study. Much-demanded, highly participatory workshops include Introduction to the World of Percussion and Rhythm, The World of Udu Drums, and Making and Playing Percussion Instruments out of Found Objects. Educators have used Brian's workshops as illustrations in such diverse fields as physics, social studies, art, history, environmentalism and religion, as well as music. Creating music from found objects reinforces curricula about recycling, stressing the interconnectedness of the natural and man-made worlds. The importance of percussion as a vehicle to express man's spiritual beliefs emerges through exploration of the Nigerian Udu Drums.
Read reviews and comments below...


For more information on workshop and fee schedule, please contact Mrs. Martha Stamm, Educational Program Coordinator, by email at
Making and Playing Percussion Instruments out of Found Objects (Jul 19, 2007)



~ Reviews & Comments -


This is to congratulate you on the very successful music workshop that you conducted this past summer as part of GCCA's SPROUTS fine arts program for three to seven year olds
Thank you very much for agreeing to make the creative effort to tailor your skills and ideas to permit very young children to participate. As you know, I was interested in exploring ways to achieve a more immediate, hands-on kind of music making for the little children in our summer programs than we have been able to offer in years past. You inspired me with some genuinely new ideas with which, in the future, I will be able to inspire others leading children's workshops in music.
Judith Gomory, Director, SPROUTS
Green County Council On The Arts, Catskill, New York


… [T]hank you for the excellent workshop series that you presented to my 84 sixth grade students. The workshops allowed students to experience the thrill of making, practicing, and performing with the instruments that they had created out of existing objects. This dovetailed perfectly with our curricula in science, art, music, and history.
The workshop day was a perfect springboard to creating excitement in recycling. We all look at the world in a renewed way. The students are able to look beyond an object's purpose original purpose and see what music can be created with a Pringles can.
… [Following] your workshop, the students created all four instruments in art, practiced with them in music, and finally performed for their classmates.
Please keep teaching. Your enthusiasm for your work is exactly what students need to see.
Julie Dwyer, Classroom Teacher
North Colonie Central Schools, Newtonville, New York




Brian Melick aka uduboy, Percussion on SoundBetter

a bit of a performance video

with Cathie Ryan and the Grand Rapids Symphony

Performances Highlighting: Schlagwerk Dual Cajon

a sample of my work in education

Dreamers of Our Future

Lego Drum Set - World Premier

Excerpt from "NY Banjo Summit" at the Egg

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