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September 12, 2023

How to Play a Kazoo

The kazoo is an instrument that most kids have seen or played at some point. It's also a fun and inexpensive way to make music. It turns out that the kazoo is one of the easiest musical instruments to play. In fact, it is the simplest of all musical instruments because it does not use keys or frets to produce different pitches—you provide the pitch directly with your voice! The kazoo is part of the family of musical instruments known as mirlitons (which also includes gourd pipes and harmonicas).

Kazoos are tube-shaped with one end circular and the other flattened. They have an opening that is a vibrating membrane made of wax paper. When you hum or sing into the kazoo, the sound waves travel through the tube and vibrate the membrane, which makes your voice sound resonant and amplified. Kazoos have been used for years to add music and a tune to parties, parades, and other events.

To make a kazoo, have children wrap waxed paper around the ends of a cardboard tube. Then, they can draw and write on the paper to make it more fun. Encourage them to touch the end of the kazoo with their finger and notice if they feel vibrations. This will remind them of other activities they have done in the past that also involve feeling vibrations (Talking Through Tubes, String Earphones, Rubber Band Music). Also, ask if they can hear the vibrations when they hum into the kazoo. This will help them to better understand how the kazoo works and why it produces such a buzzing sound.