It is summer, the kids are out of school and so today I’ve geared my blog to children. Take a few minutes and read this to your children and show them the pictures and watch the three-minute video. It’s educational AND it’s fun!
Okay kids, I want to talk about the science of vibrations because when something vibrates, it produces MUSIC!
So what exactly is a vibration?
The answer: A vibration is a rapid movement that repeats itself. Vibrations make sounds and sounds are what music is made of. Slow vibrations make low sounds and fast vibrations make high sounds.
Music Instruments Vibrate and Create Sounds:
The tuba is a large brass instrument and when someone blows into a tuba it creates a low sound and a slow vibration.
On the other hand, a piccolo, which is a woodwind instrument and looks like a little flute, creates fast vibrations hence they have a very high sound.
When an instrument is playing and if we could actually see the vibrations these orchestra instruments make, they would look like a beautiful painting. In fact, they would look like string art
You can also feel vibrations. Try holding onto your throat and hum. Hum high and hum low. What is happening? Now try singing, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” What you are holding onto are called vocal cords. When you sing high, the vocal cords get tight making a higher sound. When you sing low, they relax. When you sing, your vocal cords vibrate. When you talk your vocal cords vibrate, but so does another part of your throat vibrate. It is called the uvula. Look in a mirror, stick out your tongue and the little piece of skin that is hanging down in the back of your throat is called the uvula and it vibrates when you talk or sing.
There is a Disney story about a famous whale named Willy and he sings opera. He is a pretty amazing whale because instead of having just one uvula like everyone else, he has three so he can sing alto, bass and tenor all at the same time. You can rent the movie, “Willy the Operatic Whale” and see Willy and his three uvulas. Here is a picture of Willy—look closely and see his three uvulas:
Create a Vibration:
There are ways you can create a vibration and produce music. For instance, when we rub our hands together, it creates a vibration and produces a sound. Try rubbing your hands together.
We can also rub two pieces of paper together and create a vibration and if we want to create a really neat vibration, we can rub two pieces of sandpaper together. Have you ever heard the piece of music called, “The Sandpaper Ballet?” It is written by a man named Leroy Anderson and in it some people rub sand blocks together and create fun music. Here is a three-minute YouTube video of “The Sandpaper Ballet,” by Leroy Anderson. Watch how the men create a vibration and music by rubbing the sand blocks together.
It is pretty easy to make sandpaper blocks. Purchase some little blocks of wood and some sandpaper. You will want to cut the sandpaper to fit over the wood. Then glue the sandpaper onto the wood. Now try rubbing the two blocks together. You are creating vibrations and music!
Another way to create a vibration is with a little instrument called a kazoo. You blow into the kazoo and at the same time you hum. You can feel the vibration on your lips! It is fun to do! Have your parents go to a music store and purchase a kazoo for you to try this experiment with.