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Krylyn Peters Mar 31, 2011

Instruments of Creativity

Part of the fun of using music, sound, and songwriting for healing is improvising. In my workshops, I like to ask people to take out their instruments and begin playing. You can probably imagine I get a lot of blank stares and odd looks. But I assure everyone they do have instruments with them.

As with other aspects of my work, I begin discussing what an instrument is. We’ve got to define our terms, just like we do in counseling practice. Most people who come to a workshop have a pen. Pens (and other writing tools) can be great drumsticks to tap on a table or the floor. And everyone brings the most common, compact, and inexpensive instrument of them all…their voice.

Over the years, I’ve also learned to improvise on making instruments (or repurposing other items) for clients to use. I find that the more creative I get, the more fun the experience is. Here’s just some of the instruments I’ve used over the years (both with clients and in my own song arrangements):

•Empty plastic or cardboard containers (as drums)
•Wooden spoons (as drumsticks)
•Phone books (as drums)
•Rice shakers (rice inside plastic Easter eggs)
•Empty tissue box with rubber bands (plucking the rubber band over the open hole of the box)
•Various baby toys (shakers, rattles, toy pianos, anything that makes sound)

There’s infinite possibilities when it comes to finding ways to make sound. And not only can making the sound be fun, but making the instrument can be as well. It allows us to think outside the box and use our imagination. I’d love to hear what creative instruments you use.

Krylyn Peters is a counselor and singer/songwriter who uses the power of music, sound, and songwriting for healing. You can get a free copy of “How to Use Music and Sound for Healing” at

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