Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by niko. niko Wonders, “How do you beatbox?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, niko!

What’s your favorite type of music? Do you like the twang of country music? How about the rhythm of rock and roll?  Maybe the beats of hip hop get you moving and grooving!

If you enjoy hip hop, you might also know about today’s Wonder of the Day. Have you ever seen artists make rhythms using just their mouths? That’s called beatboxing! It’s a form of vocal percussion. Beatboxers make music with their own mouths, lips, tongues, voices, and even noses.

Beatboxing is a big part of hip hop culture. It’s often made up of drum sounds, but that’s not all! Beatboxing can also involve singing. Some beatboxers also try to sound like record players. Others sound like musical instruments.

Modern beatboxing started in the 1980s. But people have made drum sounds with their voices for a long time. Historians believe it started thousands of years ago in India and China with unique vocal art. African “over-breathing" is another ancient form of vocal percussion.

Some beatboxers also use their hands and other parts of their bodies. This helps them make even more sound effects and rhythms. That’s actually where the term “beatboxing” came from! Early beatboxers tried to sound like drum machines, which were called beatboxes at the time. One of the earliest beatboxers was Doug E. Fresh, who calls himself the first “human beatbox.” Other popular early beatboxers were Swifty, Buffy, and Wise.

Beatboxing continues to grow in popularity today. Many countries hold national beatboxing contests. Worldwide championships are also held each year.

Some people also form large beatboxing groups. In fact, one of these groups once set a world record. The current Guinness World Record for the largest human beatbox ensemble is 2,081 people. It was set in Dublin, Ireland, on November 14, 2011.

Would you like to try beatboxing? It’s a great way to make music. You don’t even need an instrument. You already have everything you need to become a great beatboxer—just give it a try!

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

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