#LetsMakeWednesdays – Make Some Noise!

December 2, 2020

Let’s make some noise

Making a noise is a great way to express your thoughts, feelings and ideas. There are lots of ways to do this at home. You can find lots of inspiration from objects in the V&A collections too.

The Mochibana Dance at the Wakanoura Festival in Kii Province. Woodblock print by Utagawa Hiroshige, 1843 – 47. Mus. no. E.4867-1919 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The people in the Mochibana image are at a festival. At this Japanese folk festival, they are dancing, singing and making music. They are beating out the rhythm of the dance on their fans.

Let’s make some noise with our bodies

You can use your body to make different sounds and rhythms. Try stomping with your feet, clapping with your hands, patting different parts of your body or tapping with your fingers or feet. Can you think of anything else?

Once you have some sounds you like, you can play with sound patterns or rhythms. Try doing fast, slow, loud, quiet, short and long sounds and then repeat the sounds to make your rhythms.

Think about how the sounds make you feel, for instance, fast sounds might be happy and slow sounds could feel sad.

Now put your ideas together with some movement or dancing that feels right. You could use moves like marching up and down or making circles with your hands.

Here is Chickenshed Theatre marching and singing at a Christmas Pop-up Performance at the V&A in 2017.

V&A Families, Pop-up Performance with Chickenshed Theatre, Christmas 2017 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Let’s make some noise with objects in our home

Do you know what it’s called when you make music by banging and tapping different things? It’s called percussion!

You can use everyday objects that you find at home to make percussion instruments. There is a musical called Stomp that does just this and it is a great success. The performers dance and bang everyday objects, like dustbins, to make rhythms and perform funny stories. Many performances can’t take place in theatres at the moment. We hope to see Stomp and many other shows up and running again in 2021.

Photograph by Douglas H. Jeffery of Stomp at the Roundhouse, 1998 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London / Douglas H Jeffery Archive

Let’s tap with tins, clap with cardboard, pat some plastic or bounce a ball

Try looking in the kitchen or in your recycling. Ask a grown-up first if it’s all right to use the objects you find. You can make great sounds with things like tin cans, cups, pots and pans. You can tap them with your hands or fingers or with a wooden spoon or a pencil. These two women are clapping their hands over a basket.

Two women dancing and clapping, artist unknown, Tanjore, about 1770. Mus. no. AL.9128:4 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Choose  three or four different objects. Then play around with different sounds, rhythms and movements. You could sweep a broom or blow a plastic bottle. Find a magazine or a book and flick the pages.

Let’s try playing spoons

Hold two spoons, in the hand you don’t use as much. One between your thumb and first finger and one between your third and fourth finger. Check the spoons are facing back-to-back. Tap down on the spoons with your other hand. It’s a bit like playing the castanets. There is a person dancing with the castanets in this image. Are there any other ways you can play with spoons?

Lady Dancing and Playing Castanets, unknown artist, 1800 – 30. Mus. no. 715–1876 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Three ornamental hair combs; Lacquer and tortoiseshell. Japanese, 19th century. Mus. nos 86-1888, 43-1888 and 84-1888 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Let’s try playing a comb

Get some paper and cut a piece that is the same length as the comb and twice as long. Fold the paper in half, over the comb. Then hum a tune on the comb, through the paper.

Waterproof boots, Globoot Footwear (designers), Plastic Coatings Ltd. (manufacturers) Mus. no. CIRC 251A-1971 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Let’s try creating musical boots

If you have some wellington boots, put them on and pat your hands against them. Pat them on the outside and inside of your legs. You are gum boot dancing. This style of dance comes from South Africa.

Put your favourite objects, rhythms and moves together to create a band. There’s a one-person tin band in this image.

Music sheet cover for ‘The Tin-pot Band’, 19th century. Mus. no. S.451-2012 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Here’s a video to get your feet tapping, of Albert’s Band playing at the V&A, in 2017.

Let’s make some noise with our ideas

Changes in the world often happen when people make a noise and tell others what they want! What ideas do you want to share with other people?

It could be something serious or something funny. Think of something you would like to say. Turn it into a chant by saying it lots of times.

Here are some ideas:

  • You can change the world with a hug.
  • We want to see more stars!
  • You can eat more ice cream.
  • No more plastic!

Mix your chant in with the sounds of your band. Then march around your house making some noise!

V&A Families, Imagination Station, October Half-Term, 2016 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Share your ideas with us on social media using #LetsMakeWednesdays

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