This weeks class would prove to be really interestng. We decided to make didgeridoos from PVC pipe. I have seen various instructions and videos on the internet about it but wanted something that was inexpensive, and easily handled by the students. Another search had me looking at a video when I realized that it was Steven Graham, a fellow boomsmith, making the didgeridoos. Steven is a teacher and has his students decorate the didges. He makes them from 1 inch diameter PVC which is very cheap and doesn’t require a beeswax mouthpiece to narrow the opening for playing.
I got enough pipe for the class and proceeded to make a flared bell on the end, only it didn’t work. Gee, it looked easy on the video. I dashed off an email to Steven and went back to adding a twist neat the top of the didge. Not sure if it helps the sound but it looks cool. Well Steven comes to the rescue by calling me to tell me I was heating too much of the pipe. That indeed was the problem so once armed with that knowledge, I was able to flare the bottom end of all the didges.
When the students arrived they were already fired up for class. We went into the conference room and closed the door. We weren’t sure how noisy it was going to get. The students started by sanding any rough edges off the PVC and sanding the red printing off. Then they got a chance to decorate them with magic markers. The didges were seen passing from person to person as most of the students had the other students sign the didges.
Now came the time to actually play them. This was one of the funniest things I have experienced. I played one and my wife and Hector also tried one for the first time. Then the students tried, and giggled, and tried again, and giggled even more. One by one they finally got the correct sound from it. Steven was particularly good and I think he’ll be the go to person at school for the others to learn from. Note, I have blurred the students faces in the following photos to protect their identies.
After we all calmed down a bit, Barb read the dreamtime story “The Story of the Seven Sisters and the Faithful Lovers”. This is the story about the constellation Pleiadies. From there we went to a discussion about the song “Waltzing Matilda”. We learned all the Aussie slang words in the song and then listened to it. It was the first time any of the students had ever heard the song.
We finished class with some more practice on the didgeridoos before the students lined up to get back on the bus. Students from other classes were very interested in what our students had, so there was lots of explaining as they waited and I am sure on the bus trip back. One quick note, the people working outside the conference room we used were kind to us, but we did find out the didges could be heard loud and clear. oops!