Click the photo to hear the sound.

The Band Can

by Olivia E.

The name of this instrument is the Band Can. It is a great new addition to the string and percussion family. I got my idea from the guitar and the drum. I knew I would not be able to make both, so I decided to combine the instruments. With my grandmother's and my uncle's help, I put my ideas on paper and we went to work. The most interesting feature is its shape. Using my fingers on the rubber bands changes the pitch and volume. The soft rapping on the plastic lid enhances its quality and it is a delight to the listening ear as the sound resonates through the air.

Gathering the materials for my project wasn't an easy task. We had rubber bands at my house but no can. My uncle had a can but no screws. Finally, my uncle looked in his garage and found all the things I needed. I helped him while he drilled the holes in the coffee can and measured the length needed for the wood. He then painted it my favorite colors: purple and gold. I wanted it to look pretty interesting. I think it is!

Starting this project was hard. I did not know where to begin. One day while doodling and scribbling on paper, an idea began to form. I wanted the arm or handle of my instrument to look like the guitar and the base like the drum. The materials I used in make it were a coffee can, plastic lid, a wood piece, three screws, one drawer knob, four screw pegs, spray paint, different colored rubber bands that extended to different lengths and star stickers that make it sparkle. My uncle helped in the main construction of my project but I did the decorating. There were little problems like the rubber bands breaking, making a hole in the lid, but I did not let that stop me.

The Band Can is simple and easy to play. Each time I played it a new idea formed and the rhythm or hand movement took on a life of its own. It is a total hands-on instrument. The soft gentle plucking of the bands makes its rich sound. The volume and the pitch change when I my my fingers along the bands. The Band Can can be played with the base resting on a table. It is played easily by laying it across your lap.

When I began this I did not want to do it. I was afraid I would not be able to make an instrument. And if I did my peers would laugh at me. With my family's encouragement and help, I gained the courage I needed. I think they had fun, too. I learned that there are things that seem hard to do. When you have people that believe in you it makes the difference. I tried a little harder because I knew, no matter what, they cared.