Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Laura I-An. Laura I-An Wonders, “How are instruments made?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Laura I-An!

How are instruments made? Do trumpets come in a box? Can you put a clarinet together at home? Most of us will never have to put together a musical instrument that comes in a box. Many of them are made in factories. Others are made by hand. Let’s take a closer look at how instruments are made.

Historians say the first instruments were likely made by chance. This happened when early humans noticed the musical abilities of materials they used for tools or weapons. For example, the pluck of a string on a bow may have led to the first lyres and other stringed instruments.

Early humans used the materials they found around them to make instruments. This included items like sticks, shells, and bones to make drums and other percussion instruments. Today, people have much more to choose from. Some natural materials are still popular—such as wood. But plastic has also grown in use. This makes it possible to build lighter, cheaper instruments.

All instruments used to be hand-made. That was before the Industrial Revolution. New machines made it much easier to build instruments. Today, many flutes, guitars, saxophones, and other instruments are mass-produced in factories. Sometimes, these instruments suffer from quality issues. Some musicians avoid them. Others see them as a great way for kids to learn to play music. 

Many believe that instruments made by hand are higher in quality. They’re also much more expensive than those made in factories. However an instrument is made, people put a lot of time and dedication into learning to make beautiful music with it.

Of course, some kids make their own musical instruments at home. Interested in playing the drums? It’s as simple as turning a few pots and pans upside down. More into stringed instruments? Wrap a few rubber bands around an empty tissue box. It can be a lot of fun to play homemade harmonicas, maracas, or even tambourines!

Have you ever played an instrument? Was it one you made at home or bought in a store? Maybe you even had it custom-made. Regardless, making music can be a fun artistic activity.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

Wonder What's Next?

RACE into Wonderopolis for tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day!