How creative can you be with using recycled materials to create groovy music?  This is the group to share you ideas, creations, sounds, and compositions.

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Recycalypso Challenge!

1. Look around you in your house and your school. Find interesting-sounding recycled materials from the recycling bin or elsewhere. Please only use recycled paper, cardboard, plastic, or small metal cans that don't have any sharp edges. Everything must be clean. Please NO GLASS, NOTHING SHARP, NO METAL RODS OR PIPES, NO WOODEN STICKS LONGER THAN ONE FOOT

2. If you want you can combine materials as well using tape or other methods. How would that tea box sound taped to the top of the plastic yogurt container? It is also okay to use noodles, beans, or other food items to turn your recycled item into a shaker.

3. Maybe you want to decorate your recycled instrument with paint or any other method.

4. When you finish your instrument, figure out all the ways you can make sounds with your recycled instrument. Can you hit it with your hand to make a nice sound? Can you hit it with a stick and make a cool sound? What happens if you hit it in different spots, does it make different sounds? Is it louder when you play it one way then when you play it another way? Can you shake it and make a sound? How many different ways can you shake it?

5. Come up with a name for your instrument. It could be a name that describes what the instrument does. For example, one student who made a really fun looking shaker called it the supercalafradjashaker. Or the name can have nothing to do with the sound of the instrument. You can call your instrument “Frank” if it looks like “Frank” to you. You can name your instrument anything you want, just be creative.

6. Practice your instrument so you learn how to play it. Remember, you are the world’s expert on playing your instrument.


1. IF IAN IS PERFORMING IN YOUR COMMUNITY, COME DOWN TO THE PERFORMANCE TO WIN PRIZES FOR THE BEST RECYCLED INSTRUMENT AT THE SHOW! You will get to play along with the band and you might even be invited on stage!

2. Join this group, the "Recycalypso Group", and share your ideas and creations with other rad recycling musicians.

3. Take a picture or make a video of your instrument. Please email your picture or video to us. If you are camera shy we only need to see someone's hands playing it. The advantage of video is that you can show us and explain how your instrument is played, let us hear your instrument, and explain how it was made.
Send still pictures or video to

Send as many videos and pictures as you would like!

A prize will be awarded every month to one of the members of this group for the best recycled instrument picture or video posted and will be announced on

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  • Shopping Cart Groove below has Roy Gabelein playing a shopping card.  Roy knows how to Recycalypso!  He is a noted Nashville drummer and was one of my very first students.  Go Roy!

  • From Anne H:

    Well, I didn't create this and for that matter it's not an instrument, but still a beautiful use of of recycled paper coffee cups! At the Fremont (Seattle) Solstice parade yesterday

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