Blow A Tune With Bottles And Water


Blow up a balloon, blow your nose and we hope the pitcher doesn’t blow the save in tonight’s baseball game. If it’s your birthday, blow out all the candles on your cake to make the wishes, blow in the wind …

It’s fun to play a mind game with kids using a fun word like “blow” that has so many meanings. Challenged? Keep it going and think of blowing a melody on a clarinet, and why not blow over the rim of long-neck bottles filled with varying amounts of water to make more music? Never done it? Just pull out equal-sized bottles from your recycle bin, pour in some water and start, yes, blowing. Sounds you blow can create a new or familiar tune.

Here’s the stuff you need:

–Several same-size empty, see-through clean bottles with narrow necks such as soda or mineral water bottles. Glass bottles work best.

–Pitcher of water

–Food coloring (optional)

Here’s the fun:

Line up the empty bottles horizontally on a table or bench in front of you. Pour different amounts of water into each one, starting with a small quantity in the first and gradually increasing the level.

“Tune” the bottles by blowing into them and emptying or adding water to achieve the desired pitch. To make a resonant sound, lightly blow across the mouth of the partially filled bottle. Keep practicing until the right sound is achieved. For a full octave on the musical scale, use eight bottles.

You’ll discover that less water in the bottle creates a lower pitch, and more water gives you a higher pitch. If it’s a hot day and your kids are thirsty, they might think it’s fun to drink from the bottles to cool off as they tune.

When the bottles are at the desired pitch, add a drop of food coloring to each one to identify the “notes” by color.

Make up a tune, or try a simple familiar song such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” You’ll need only four bottles to play the childhood tune. Get four people (one for each note/bottle) and one conductor, and let the music begin!

Note: If your child has difficulty making sounds by blowing over the rims of the bottles, hand him a wooden spoon and lightly tap on the bottles below the water line to create sounds.

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