Activity: Music of the Estuary

  • Rattles
  • Sticks
  • Whistles
  • Duck Calls
  • Water Pipes
  • Drums
  • Bottles filled with water
  • Any object that can be used to make sounds
  • Environmental tapes: Sound of the Everglades, Rainforest, Sounds of the Ocean


  1. Play a commercial tape of environmental sounds or students can make their own tapes while visiting a wetland area .

  2. Ask students to brainstorm a list of different ways to simulate the sounds of nature using objects or their own voices.

  3. Suggest that students simulate background noises of the estuary, including grasses blowing in the wind, a frog plopping into a pond, a seed pod rattling in the wind, a branch falling, or an owl hooting.

  4. Ask each student to concentrate on one sound and form a class Estuary Orchestra! Write a musical score putting sounds to songs such as "Old MacDonald Had a Farm", "The Blue Danube", "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". Students may want to have several tape recorders available to tape and play back their particular sound.

  5. Perform the Estuary Symphony!

Example: "Old MacDonald Had a Farm...e-i-e-i-o!"

(simulate background noises such as a baby alligator, crickets, mosquitos, and various birds)

The old bass fisherman had a place, e-i-e-i-o!
And in this place there was a frog, e-i-e-i-o!
With a rribbit rribbit here, rribbit rribbit there, here a plop,
       there a plop, everywhere a plop,plop!
The old bass fisherman had a place, e-i-e-i-o!
And in this place there was a bird, e-i-e-i-o!
And this ole bird spied a real green frog, e-i-e-i-o!
With an eek eek here and eek eek there, here an eek,
      there an eek, everywhere an eek, eek!
The old bass fisherman had a place, e-i-e-i-o!


  1. What part does sound play in the lives of animals?

  2. Which sounds are most appealing to you?

  3. Which sounds of nature are the easiest to simulate?

  4. If you had to use an environmental sound to communicate all of the time, which one would you choose? Why?

  1. Perform the symphony at a parent-teacher night.

  2. Take the Estuary Symphony to a classroom in the lower grades and teach the students about the estuary and perform the symphony with them!

  3. Using the poem The Basin Blues, have students put natural rhythmic sounds together with the words. Produce sounds from sticks, seed pods, gourds, grasses or branches of tree leaves, etc.

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