One of our viewers wrote:
"Probably the easiest craft is a didgeridoo. It is a long tubular wooden musical instrument used by Aborigines. You can make it out of several toilet rolls stuck together (to make one long one), or use a paper towel roll (which is longer). Decorate some paper and roll it around the roll and glue it on. Easy!"
So we gave it our best try. Darren and I sat down to research Didgeridoos a bit on the internet so that she could get an idea of how the real thing looked. We also took some time to listen to some samples of the music that this instrument can make.
We discovered that this instrument is made from branches of
a particular tree that have been hollowed out by termites. Apparently,
finding these branches and choosing the best one is an art in and of
itself. Once a person has found the perfect branch the next step is to
decorate the branch with aboriginal artwork. Here are some links to a
couple of the sites that we checked out in case you are interested:
The Didgeridoo Store
iDIDJ Australia: Australian Didgeridoo Cultural Hub
Both of these sites have oodles of information about the history of the didgeridoo.
Elaine provided us with the following additional information:
"Didgeridoo: A musical Instrument made and played by Australian Aborigines. Originally made from hollow branches of various Australian Trees found in Northern Australia. Decorated with Ochre and variety of natural dyes. Each maker had his own specific decorations. Fun Didges for kids of all ages can be made using Polypipe offcuts or the hard tubes from old vacuum cleaners. Minimum size 3 feet by 1.2 inches diameter up to 6.5 ft. The larger the tube the deeper the sounds made. Sit children on floor with one leg outstretched, place Didge end on an angle to floor, with the foot raising it slightly. Blow into tube by quick breath in through nose and slowly breathe out through mouth down the tube. When they can successfully produce a noise introduce other vocal sounds such as tick tock, clucking and other animal noises any sort will do. The better players can make noises such as animals running to and fro. Additional short piece of pipe can be used as a beat against the outside of the main tube."
Fiona provided us with the following additional information:
"The didgeridoo traditionally came from Northern Australia and was traded with the southern states. It became an instrument played all over Australia. The decorations had very significant meaning. It is a man’s instrument and was not allowed to be played by women. In some areas women were not even allowed to touch a didgeridoo. Traditionally this is still the case in a lot of areas.
Most of the 'tourist' didgeridoos are not authentic but Aboriginal elders still don’t like women playing them. Unfortunately this isn’t told to the tourist."
"Growing up in Australia, and working in the Early childhood industry for 17 years I have made (and tried to play) numerous didgeridoos. In the last 10 years or so, elders have spoken up and explained that the didge is a spiritual instrument, and as such females over the age of 12 are not to play unless they have permission from the tribal leaders. I know the little girl in pic may not be 12, but some tribes can be quite passionate about this, and any female- without a written disclaimer - upsets them. I thought you may just want to know. Again thank you for your hard work at providing us with such terrific information,resources and inspiration. You are truly amazing!"
(Just a note... Tasha is only 10 years old in this photo, but I very much appreciate the information from Tammy as I've no desire to upset anyone.)
Have fun making yours!
- paper tube (wrapping paper, paper towel or multiple TP rolls)
(Tasha used two paper towel rolls for hers)
- white paper
- transparent tape
- If you are using TP rolls or more than one paper towel roll, tape them together to form a single long tube.
- Cut as many pieces of white paper as you need to cover so that each piece wraps once around the paper tube.
- Make your "aboriginal art" design on the paper or pieces of paper that you will use to cover the tube.
- Cover your tube with your design and tape it in place.