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A traveling exhibition about the sounds and songs of life

Make Pan Pipes

Make Pan Pipes

Pan Pipes have developed all over the world in different cultures, from South America to Greece and China. They are usually made from bamboo, reeds or other hard, hollow wood. These pan pipes are made with straws, with clay to stop up the bottom. With this pan pipe you can play the tones do, re, mi, fa , so , la, ti, do.

Courtesy of the Sound Crew. Sound Crew is a team of teenagers who worked on the Wild Music project, in the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Youth Science Center. During 2005 and 2006, they developed a number of sound and music activities and tested them with kids in the museum and the community.

  • Materials

  • • Straws (fat ones for milkshakes or bubble tea work best; 8 per pan pipe)
  • • Wide Craft Sticks (6 per pan pipe)
  • • Plasticine
  • • Double-Stick Tape (plastic carpet tape works well)
  • • Scissors
  • • Ruler
  • Instructions

  • 1. Measure and cut the straws into the following lengths:
    Do = 17.5 cm
    So = 11 cm
    Re = 15.5 cm
    La = 10 cm
    Mi = 13.5 cm
    Ti = 9 cm
    Fa = 12.5 cm
    Do = 8.5 cm
  • 2. Put plasticine in the bottom of each straw: flatten some plasticine into a patty, stick a straw into it, twist the straw several times, then pull it out.
  • 3. Put the straws in order, from longest to shortest.
  • 4. Take three craft sticks and line them up. Put a piece of double-sided tape on the sticks and take off the backing. Do the same with the other three sticks.
  • 5. Lay the straws on one set of taped sticks, longest to shortest. Lay them so that the clay is on the bottom and the tops of the straws line up straight across, just above the sticks.
  • 6. Lay the second set of sticks across the straws and press together.
  • 7. To play, rest the top of the straws on your lower lip and blow across them.

Download a PDF to print below

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panpipes.pdf391.66 KB