Duct Tape and the Creative Process


Nadia, age 7, was wearing a hot pink jacket. I showed her how to do a black key glissando.  She tried it herself.

"Ouch!" she said. "That hurt!" 

I grabbed the plain black roll of duct tape that was sitting on my piano. 

Next time I'll get some fancy stuff.

Watch what happened.

Notice her spur-of-the-moment ideas: 

Duct tape + piano jpg.jpg
  • Using the glissando as a perfect pick-up to the downbeat.
  • Taking advantage of all the different sides of the duct tape.
  • Sometime using the hard side to play single notes.
  • Switching back to the side each time she wanted to do a glissando. 
  • In the middle of the piece she uses the tape as a percussion instrument and just taps on the fallboard. 

Moments like these are magical. All I said was, "Nadia, use the tape to play on the black keys." I improvised underneath her. If you aren't comfortable doing this kind of thing on your own, but wish you were, I highly recommend Forrest Kinney's Pattern Play books. They are overflowing with friendly ideas for creating spontaneous music with your student.   

And don't forget the duct tape.  

My students love to use it to make bags for their music