Back to All Events

SOUNDS CRAZY ~ A musical exploration of everyday items

SOUNDS CRAZY ~ A musical exploration of everyday items (Ages 7 - 10)

Friday, August 2, 1 - 3pm (and then join in the Opening ArtsWells Festival Parade with your new instrument at 7pm!)

Location: Wells Barkerville School

Instructors: Al Simmons, Tomáš Kubínek and Peter Paul Van Camp

Thanks to support from the BC Arts Council this workshop is only $5 per child; limited space, must pre-register below

Children must be accompanied by their parent or guardian (and they can help join in as well).


Juno Award-winner Al Simmons demonstrates, with hilarious results, how the various instruments of a symphony orchestra make music. The principles of sound waves, vibrations, resonance, and pitch are clearly explained as Al plays his bizarre homemade versions of stringed, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments. He manages to coax music out of tin cans, soda straws, garden hoses, plastic drink bottles, rulers, coat hangers, and even a turkey baster. He explains, by way of hilarious example, the science behind the music and how his crude instruments are similar to their more expensive counterparts.

The workshop consists of:

1. An easy to understand presentation of the principles of the science of sound.

2. A demonstration of some of Al's homemade orchestral instruments.

3. A workshop in which everyone builds their own instruments.

4. A giant jam session.

Bring along the following items if you have them. Some items will be returned undamaged after the workshops they are marked with an asterisk. *


<>5 assorted pieces of kitchen cutlery *

<>5 open or box end wrenches assorted sizes *

<>5 large nails in assorted sizes *

<>One large soft towel or (approximate size) 1’ X 3' X 1" foam rubber pad, *

<>5 wire coat-hangers *

<>Misc sizes of plastic bottles. (Vitamin, jam, pop etc.)

A bag of raw uncooked beans or rice or un-popped popcorn. To make shakers out of the bottles.

10 lengths of 1-1/4" x 6' Pipe Insulation

One box of toothpicks.


<>Assorted empty clean tin cans (no sharp edges)

<>10 pairs of scissors *

<>Small cotton rags (about the size of a face cloth) one per participant. OR— A large towel from a thrift store can be cut up.

Two containers of water for wetting the cloths

Heavy cotton string 2 to 3 feet per participant

19L or 5-gallon plastic bucket


<>Soda straws (wide mouth milkshake type) one per participant

<>One newspaper

<>Empty plastic bottles of various sizes and shapes

Water for filling bottles


30 feet of ¾” black poly pipe.

Two 3/4 in. x 10 ft. grey PVC Conduit.


<>One box knife or sharp blade *

<>One hacksaw *

<>One roll of Duct/Gaffer tape. *

<>3 hammers *

<>10 2” common nails *