Sunday, May 5, 2013

Make a Bop-o-phone for Boomwhackers

This little invention has been a hit with kids as well as teachers. I first created a Bop-o-phone out of desperation for additional xylos. The frame/box costs basically nothing, and it adds some versatility to a set of Boomwhackers. Here are easy instructions and pictures. Please post additional ideas or feedback. Enjoy!
Materials needed: an empty, sturdy box that contained a case of 8.5" x 11" copy paper (usually easy to find in the faculty workroom), wide tape, a meter stick, a marker, sturdy scissors, and a about six feet of yarn or soft string. For each mallet, you will need a pencil or 10" length of 1/4" diameter  dowel, a small rubber ball (party favor or from 25 cent vending machine), and glue. 

Step #1

(1) Begin 2 cm from the left side of the box and mark along the top edge 4 cm wide by 1 cm deep arcs, 1 cm apart. Repeat markings on opposite edge.
Cut out the arcs. (Cutting from each side and meeting in the middle will give cleaner results.)              

Step 2

(2) Gently pull the glued seams on one side of the box apart and lay the end flap flat. Mark a line through the center of the bottom of the box from the open edge to 7" from the opposite side. Then mark a "V", extending from the center line to each corner of the box. Cut along these lines.

Step #3

(3) Fold the bottom sections over each other with the "V" on top (inside), narrowing the width of the open end of the box to about 8". Then fold the end flaps up, trim/square them up, and tape your seams.

(4) Place Boomwhackers in the 'cradles' in diatonic order. (You can leave some off for pentatonic activities). Tie two lengths of yarn around the box and tubes lengthwise as shown in the top picture. Tape yarn in place on bottom of box to keep it from sliding around. The yarn will keep tubes in place, and it doesn't really inhibit tone.
(5) Make a mallet by carving/drilling a hole in a rubber ball, applying glue to in the hole and on the end of the dowel or pencil, and inserting the stick into the ball. (Soft rubber balls actually sound better than hard ones.)

You can use the Bop-o-phone as an Orff-type instrument for ostinatos or as a melody instrument. It's very easy to convert Boomwhackers to and from this mallet format.
Here's a link to my digital song collection of color-coded melodies (with ostinato suggestions), which you might find very useful and versatile:

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