Finding simple wind instruments suitable to make with very young children is hard, but the balloon bassoon is perfect. Easy to make and satisfying to play, children love this instrument, not least because it’s loud! In my early childhood education music incursion programs this is always one of the most popular instruments.
Balloon bassoons are also inexpensive – about A$4 if you use PVC pressure pipe, much less if you use cardboard tube. It sounds like a very cheap saxophone, and it only plays one note. Technically it’s more like a sax or clarinet than a bassoon, but hey! The name was to good to pass up!
How easy is it to make? I can make one from scratch in less than 3 minutes, including measuring and cutting the pipe. I use this instrument in my program to show children how easy and quick it is to make a musical instrument (I pre-cut the pipe, but that’s all).
Children from about 4 and up can make it themselves with some adult assistance – you will have to cut the hose for them, and they will need assistance and close supervision if they are going to saw the PVC pipe.
Children as young as 3 can play it, although most 3 year olds will need to have the instrument held for them. 4 year olds and up can hold it for themselves, but learning the right way to hold it takes practice.
The full instructions are below, but if you prefer a visual guide watch this video: