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DIY of the Week – Castanets

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

We’re back to start off your week creatively! And in keeping with our recent string of handmade musical instruments (well, except for the slight deviation last week), we’re back with another super easy instrument DIY.

This week, we explore the ease, simplicity, and total fun that are castanets! And if you’re wondering what a castanet is, these are the clickety-clackety little instruments you’ll often see in the hands of flamenco dancers.

Image source – Spoj

Image source – Dreamstime

 

What you need:

  1. Several pairs of metal bottle caps (the kind you get on glass bottles of soda)
  2. Cardboard sheet to cut into pieces
  3. Scissors
  4. Markers or sketch pens to make your designs
  5. Strong glue
  6. Rubber bands
  7. Craft paper and glue, if you want to decorate your castanets more intricately
Image source - Kygo

Image source – Kygo

 

 

What to do:

Step 1

Measure the length of your index finger and cut the cardboard into pieces that measure twice that length, making them approximately one and half inch wide.

Image source - DIY Enthusiasts

Image source – DIY Enthusiasts

 

Step 2

Round off the edges of your cardboard strip.

 

Step 3

Create intricate designs with your markers towards the two rounded off edges. (If you are gluing on craft paper instead of drawing directly on the cardboard itself, try folding it in half as in the next step, before cutting and gluing the paper on).

Image source – YouTube

 

Step 4

Fold the cardboard piece in half, length-wise, and place a bottle cap on one of the inside edges, about half centimeter from the end. (Make sure the sharp edged side is the one against the cardboard.) Glue it on. Then repeat with another bottle cap on the other inside edge, gluing it in place. Make sure that the caps are aligned with each other when hold the fold closed.

Image source - DIY Inspired

Image source – DIY Inspired

 

Step 5

Hold the cardboard in the closed position, with the bottle caps touching each other, and tie it with a rubber band, and leave overnight, so that the glue may dry.

 

Step 6

Remove the rubber band, and voila!

 

 

Your castanets are ready for you to enjoy! And as promised, they were super easy to make. So go, make some more! Try out different designs, different cardboard lengths, or widths. Till next week! Enjoy irritating your neighbors till then. Happy clicking and clacking!

 

Image source - YouTube

Image source – YouTube

DIY of the Week – Handmade Tambourine

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

It’s our favorite day of the week again! Every Monday brings on a brand new week, brand new possibilities, and in the world of NSPA, a brand new Do-It-Yourself project!

In keeping with our theme for DIYs focusing on musical instruments, this week’s activity is none other than the favorite (and super easy to play) tambourine. It’s great for family picnics, friendly get-togethers, and camping trips too! So let’s get our craft on

 

What you need:

1. 10 metal bottle caps

2. Piece of scrap wood (or any safe surface on which you can use a hammer)

3. Large nail

4. Hammer

5. 7-inch wooden embroidery hoops

6. Craft wire

7. Colored electric tape

8. Cardboard

 

What to do:

Step 1

Punch a hole in each bottle cap, one at a time, by placing them face down on the scrap wood, placing the nail in the center and lightly tapping down on the head with the hammer until a hole is made. Make sure you’re careful while holding the caps, as the edges are sharp and can easily lead to cuts.

Image source – Arts and Crafts Collection

 

Step 2

Cut five 3-inch pieces of the craft wire, and bend each piece of wire at one end, about half inch in from the edge. String in two bottle caps, with the top sides facing each other. Repeat this for all five pieces of wire, as shown in the picture.

Image source - Manos a la obra

Image source – Manos a la obra

 

Step 3

Open and separate the two embroidery hoop rings. Screw the outer loop tightly. Now cut five pieces of cardboard into 1 inch squares. These will be our spacers.

Image source – Amazon

 

Step 4

Cut the tape about 5 inches long, and lay it down with the sticky side facing up. Place a spacer piece in the center of the tape. Now place the spacer between the two hoops and secure by wrapping the tape around tight. Loop another round of tape to secure it firmly. Repeat this step with the remaining four spacers, evenly spacing them out between the rings.

Image source - Arts and Crafts Collection

Image source – Arts and Crafts Collection

 

Step 5

Now place the wires and caps between each of the spacers, looping both ends of the wires around each hoop.

 

Step 6 Cover the looped wire ends with tape, securing them in place.

Image source - Arts and Crafts Collection

Image source – Arts and Crafts Collection

 

Et voila! You’re now ready to be the star attraction at the next singalong!

Image source – Pinterest

DIY of the Week – Make your own Kazoo

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Another Monday brings with it another super easy DIY for you! After a relaxing weekend, we hope you’re feeling refreshed and raring to go, so it’s a good plan to start the week off with an easy homemade instrument.

Now, before we start making our really cool kazoo, we have to point out the obvious – this will not LOOK like a traditional kazoo. This is what an actual kazoo looks like:

Image source - Amazon

Image source – Amazon

Ours will not look like this. But, we promise you a hilarious time from the interesting sounds you will be making with yours. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started!

 

What you will need:

1. Cardboard tube (easiest option is a toilet paper roll tube)

2. Colors (paints, sketch pens, washi tape, whatever you want to decorate and personalize your kazoo)

3. Wax paper

4. Rubber bands

5. Scissors and pen/pencil to punch a hole in the tube

 

How to:

Step 1:

Decorate the toilet paper roll tube as you want. You can get as creative and colorful as you want. Remember, there are no rules!

 

Image source - Pinterest

Image source – Pinterest

 

Step 2:

Cut a section of wax paper into a circle or square, but ensure that it is large enough to cover the hole of the tube with some extra to go over the side.

 

Image source - Today's Parent

Image source – Today’s Parent

 

Step 3:

Cover the hole on one side of the tube with the cut wax paper, and secure it in place with a couple of rubber bands. Make sure that it is completely secure, and that you have not left the rubber bands loose. If you are using larger rubber bands, twist them once or twice (as needed) to ensure that they are tight and firmly in place.

 

Image source - Today's Parent

Image source – Today’s Parent

Step 4:

Make a small hole anywhere in the tube, near the wax paper side. Make sure that the hole is NOT covered by the wax paper though. You can use the pen or pencil, or even the scissors if you wish.

 

Image source - YouTube

Image source – YouTube

Step 5:

And there you have it! Your kazoo is now ready for you to get your funk on! Now all you have to do is blow air, hum, or sing into the open hole! You can even alternate between blocking the hole on the side, then opening it back up to see how that changes the sound. Though best results come from an open hole, and humming. Have fun!

 

Have a lovely week!

(And we guarantee that after 2 minutes, you’ll totally be bothering your spouse/parents/boss/neighbour/roommate/dog,  so use at your own risk!)

5 Reasons why it’s Good to learn an Instrument by yourself

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Most of us are skeptical about the idea of self-tutoring ourselves, perhaps because we know that we aren’t shining examples of diligence and perseverance. Given a chance, we would rather invest our faith and money in a professional tutor, someone who has received formal education in music and is hence, qualified to extend that learning to someone else.

However, we at the NSPA, after having met several talented artists who have learnt instruments by themselves, believe that self-teaching yourself a musical instrument is actually a wonderful thing to do. We aren’t dissing the idea of professional training in any way, but for those who haven’t the resources or time to make it to scheduled classes, we think self-tutoring is the best way to go. It is economical, enjoyable and extends a host of other benefits to the learner. Here are some key one’s you’re sure to derive from this exercise:

 

guitar book

Image courtesy: wpl.ca

  1. Set your own learning pace:

Unlike in a class, where you have to wait for the instructor to show you the next step, when you’re own, you get to decide how quickly or slowly you wish to move forward. So if you master a chord quickly, you can move to learning a new one. At the same time, if you feel unsatisfied with your learning, you can always spend more rehearsing that formation until you feel like you’ve mastered it completely.

  1. Save some dough

Let’s face it, professional coaching can be expensive, in fact, some classes have fee structures that are pointlessly exorbitant. When you self-train yourself, you can decide how much of your money you wish to invest in books, DVDs or online courses. Another great option is to learn from YouTube videos. The benefit of these online, people-contributed videos is that they are free, and they also deliver intensive training and guidance.

  1. Saves time:

This is something people staying in far-flung suburbs will love. When you self-tutor yourself, you can decide where you wish to learn your instrument. Whether in the comfort of your home or at a friend’s place or in a secluded spot under some trees, you get to decide where you wish to practice your instrument. This zeros down your travelling time and allows you to spend that extra time rehearsing.

  1. Is more enjoyable:

Our many years of schooling have taught us that not all professors are fun. Some instructors can be very rigid in their teaching methods while some might be too laidback for our liking. When you act as your own teacher, you’re sure to have a more enjoyable and relaxed time for you’ll be the best judge of your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. So, you surely won’t have to worry about a very strict or pushy instructor here!

  1. Boosts your confidence:

Doesn’t it feel great when you accomplish something on your own? Without the proverbial mentor and hand-holder, you get a chance to tell people that you’ve mastered an instrument on your own merit. Your hard work and dedication alone has helped you get this far! This feeling alone is enough to give your confidence a big boost and motivate you to continue on your journey of discovery and learning.

Well, now that we’ve opened your eyes to the merits of self-tutoring, we hope you’ll be inspired to take up an instrument and learn how to play it. Don’t hide behind lethargy or buy into baseless myths of self-tutoring being a herculean task. With a healthy dose of patience, perseverance and focus, you’ll surely be able to play your favourite instrument like a pro!