Students in Ken Butler's MUSICAL INSTRUMENT BUILDING course study an impressive variety of musical sounds and the ways in which they are formed. By learning that even traditional instruments like violins and pianos were invented by people, and were not always in existence, students are encouraged to be creative and inventive in music, science, art, and many other arenas of school and life.

Above all, MUSICAL INTRUMENT BUILDING with KEN BUTLER is about invention. Ken's lessons develop real world problem solving through fun and creative musical projects that give students a sense of life's limitless possibilities. Ken and his students explore how sound is produced, how to describe it in written and spoken language, and how it can be amplified and processed with microphones and other technological tools. Students learn the basics of musical sound as they build and play their own unique-sounding and visually-appealing instruments. Hands-on demonstrations are designed to help the students discover the relationship between sound, noise, and music. The program concludes with a school-wide concert of original student music played by the students on their original handmade instruments.

MUSICAL INSTRUMENT BUILDING with KEN BUTLER is a twelve-week Workshop with ten 90-minute classroom sessions, preceded by one planning meeting and followed by one assessment meeting. This program works with recycled and recyclable materials such as foam, string, empty boxes and tubes, etc.

Photo by Doug Levere

Ken Butler is an artist and musician whose hybrid musical instruments, performances, and installations explore the interaction of common objects, sounds and silence. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and performances throughout the USA at The Brooklyn Museum, Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as in Canada, Europe, South America and Asia. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Artforum, Smithsonian, and Sculpture Magazine. He has also been featured on PBS, CNN, MTV, and NBC, including a live appearance on The Tonight Show. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has several of his handmade instruments in their collection. He was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has performed with John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, Butch Morris, The Soldier String Quartet, The Tonight Show Band, and The Master Gnawa musicians of Morocco.

Learn more at Ken's Website