about us


Homemade Instrument Workshop / Music and Performing Techniques

Lisa Karrer and David Simons compose, record, and perform music professionally; they also teach music classes, performance technique, Balinese Monkey Chant, and MIDI workshops to choreographers, performers and actors, and in schools from elementary through college level in the U.S. and abroad. Their Homemade Instrument workshops and assemblies are designed for grades ranging K - 6.

Subjects to be covered include: the rudimentary math and science of sound, vibration, acoustics, rhythm, volume and pitch; the advantages of recycling and using free or low-cost materials; interlocking group rhythms, integrated physical coordination and playing techniques, homemade instrument building, listening games, call-and-response singing and world music folk songs, the basics of conducting, creative music notation, song writing, and collaborative group composition.

Depending on the length of the teaching residency, each student will build and play at least two musical instruments. We begin each residence by playing the instruments in a show-and-tell concert while demonstrating the basics of sound, vibration, rhythm, volume and pitch. Because the instruments are made from recycled materials (clean plastic bottles, tin cans, styrofoam, cardboard tubes etc) we discuss the importance of recycling and show how easy it is to make fun, beautiful music at almost no cost with recycled objects. In addition, the finished instruments can easily be displayed as a colorful exhibit at your school or center.

We will provide all instrument materials, but encourage participating schools and community organizations to ask students to contribute materials from their own homes, such as clean plastic soda bottles and tin cans. These contributions encourage students to experience recycling first-hand, one of our topics of discussion during the workshop. We can offer any combination of the following workshops at your school or community organization:

A one day assembly for multiple classes (50 minutes) includes:

~ A dynamic and entertaining musical introduction to homemade instruments

~ A creative demonstration of how each instrument works, while exploring volume, pitch, rhythm and resonance. Recycling and the rudimentary math and science of sound are also discussed

~ Creating interlocking group rhythms using hand-clapping and call-and-response singing

~ Student volunteers are invited onstage to play the instruments while Lisa and David "conduct" them in a group improvisation

A long term residency (7 -12 sessions per residency):

As teaching artists who compose and perform professionally, we will explore the concepts of music notation and composing, the science of sound , improvisation, world music and dance traditions, as well as ensemble and group collaboration in each class. We include creative music exercises, singing, performance and storytelling techniques, listening games, and creative writing and visual art projects. These activities are in addition to homemade instrument workshops as described above. Long term residencies can culminate in a public performance at your school or community center, or the recording and production of an audio CD. We are willing to travel. Our lesson plan is designed in tandem with the teachers, and according to the age group and size of each class. A weekly lesson plan is available upon request.

contact us at: lisakarrer@optonline.net
tel: 845 290-6746 or 646 247-3421

* view tube drum army

The following is the list of Learning Standards for New York State that will directly apply to our Homemade Instrument/Music and Performance Techniques program in elementary and intermediate grade levels:

The Arts Standards/Music, Theater and Visual Arts

Creating, Performing and Participating in the Arts
Knowing and Using Arts Materials and Resources
Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art
Understanding the Cultural Contributions to the Arts  

Mathematics, Science and Technology

Analysis, Inquiry and Design
Information Systems
Interconnectedness: Common Themes
Interdisciplinary Problem Solving

English Language Arts Standards

Language for Information and Understanding
Language for Literary Response and Expression
Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation
Language for Social Interaction

Social Studies Standards

World History