Before Music: Where Instruments Come From with Musical Instrument Craft Round-Up


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Music is such an important part of life. We hear music everywhere. Listen to the wind blowing or the birds singing. It is musical. Today I am sharing a book that takes a look at music from across time and around the world. It shares where musical instruments come from and I'm sharing a round-up of diy musical instruments for kids. The book is Before Music: Where Instruments Come From by Annette Bay Pimentel and illustrated by Madison Safer. It is recommended for ages 8 to 12.

From the Publisher:

From award-winning author Annette Bay Pimentel comes an oversize nonfiction picture book exploring how music and musical instruments are made—across time and around the world

Music doesn’t come out of nothing.
It always starts somewhere . . .
with something . . .
with someone.

Discover how music is made in this survey of musical instruments from around the world. Organized by material—from wood to gourds to found objects and more—Before Music marries a lyrical core text with tons of informational material for curious readers.

In the narrative text, readers will encounter makers as they source their materials and craft instruments by hand, drawing the line from the natural world to the finished product and its sound. The sidebars offer much more to discover, including extensive instrument lists, short bios of musical innovators, and more.

From Me:

This book is such an amazing resource. It gives introductions to instruments and the materials that make them. It also gives hints on how these materials may have become used to make music. The book shares instruments from all over the world as well as through different times. After an introduction to the material there is information about specific instruments, musical innovators as well as various instruments made with the material. The section about various instruments is divided by how the instruments are played from thinks blown, strung, struck or even more. It is a wonderful way to introduce musical instruments and gives a starting point for older kids to do more research. 

The illustrations are well done and share a bit of the culture from which the instrument is from. I also love that singing is in this book as well. It goes through how singing works. The book also has little interesting snippets of information on the bottom of some pages. For example, on the singing page it shares: "Some scientists believe that humans sang before they ever spoke." There is also information about special singing techniques like yodeling. Then there is information about organology, or the study of how musical instruments are classified as well as selected sources. The book ends with some ideas of making musical instruments with products found in most homes. For even more ideas see the round-up below!

I love that the musical innovators are such a range of people. They include Joseph Richardson, Winston "Spree" Simon and Ellie Mannette, Cahuilla people, Carleen Maley Hutchins, Elise Boyer Hall, and Remo Belli and Sam Muchnick. There are also mention of things like famous bells around the world, different uses for clay and so much more. This book is full of interesting information and beautiful illustrations. I hope you will check it out!

Musical Instrument Craft Round-Up

I asked my fellow bloggers for some musical instrument crafts, and they delivered. Before I go further though I need to mention Daria's Music. She has some amazing music as well as musical instrument crafts on her website as well as through Teachers Pay Teachers. She does an amazing job of teaching about different cultures using music and the musical instruments in them. You will see I have used many of her tutorials for instruments.

I have divided the crafts up somewhat by type of instrument. 


1) Egg Shaker

2) Fancy Egg Shaker from Mama Smiles

3) Plastic Egg Shakers from Finding Myself Young

4) Balloon Instruments from Hands On Teaching Ideas

5) Chapchas (tutorial from Daria's Music)

6) Rainbow Bottle Shakers from Kids Craft Room

7) Maracas (Tutorial from Daria's Music)

8) Maracas from Red Ted Art

9) Mongolian Rattles

10) Rainbow Tambourines from Kids Craft Room

11) NOT PICTURED: Watermelon Tambourines from This Mama Loves

Blowing Instruments and String Instruments:

1) ZampoƱas (tutorial from Daria's Music)

2) Kazoo

3) Peruvian Clay Whistle

4) Cardboard Harp from Little Ladoo

5) DIY Ukulele and Banjo

6) Guitar from Red Ted Art

Drums, Clickers & Everything Else:

1) Bottle Top Castanets from Red Ted Art

2) Chinese Hand Bells (tutorial from Daria's Music)

3) Squeeze and Croak Froggy Toys from Kids Craft Room

4) Homemade Kitchen Rock Band from Mommy Evolution

5) Hand Drum from Mom Crafters

6) Spin Drum Craft from Jewish Mom Crafters

7) Chinese Rattle Drum

8) Guiro (Tutorial from Daria's Music)

9) Korean Buk Drum

10) Homemade Xylophone

11) Rain Stick (Tutorial from Daria's Music)

12) Washi Tape Rain Sticks from In the Playroom

13) Cajita (Tutorial from Daria's Music)

14) Pu'ili, Hawaiian Rhythm Sticks (Tutorial from Daria's Music)