Picture of Pocket Tootophone
Music teachers take note:  this reed instrument would very likely transform your classroom into a fun place to be, if it is not already.   This is probably one of the world's smallest melodic instruments, smaller than a harmonica.   With a sliding scale of infinite notes available, and a range of about 3 octaves, the tootophone is very versatile.  It's size makes it perfect for carrying in a pocket, ready to practice with whenever inspiration strikes.  

There is no fingering to learn.  Given a few basic principles, one plays by ear, the way one might whistle melodically, or sing.    Just about any melody you can imagine, you can play -- with feeling!  

The basic tootophone mouthpiece is a modified hypodermic syringe.  It is shaped like a saxophone mouthpiece and uses reeds of different materials, such as x-ray film plastic or silicone rubber.  My favorite uses x-ray film with silicone on both sides.  A tootophone mouthpiece costs about 15 cents to make; 10 cents for the syringe, plus a little electrical tape, thread, and reed material.  One could equip a whole tootophone band for next to nothing.  Schools often complain about budget restraints, and regular band instruments are usually expensive.  A saxophone can cost thousands of dollars.  

This Pocket Tootophone design can be easily reconfigured to play the mouthpiece alone, the mouthpiece and the unit it plugs into, or the mouthpiece, plug-in unit and pipe section that protects the mouthpiece in your pocket.  It is three instruments in one!   Plus, you can plug the mouthpiece into other separate body variations to further expand the range of voices it can have.   

Making a tootophone is not difficult.  The student learns shop skills, craftsmanship, and elements of physics related to sound.  If something ever happens to the tootophone, the student can always make another at negligible cost.    That sort of self-sufficiency is empowering and is good for self-esteem.   

Playing the tootophone involves breath control, and a lot of subtle mouth movement.  The breath control is useful for playing any wind instrument.  

I would like to see international tootophone bands everywhere and people playing together more often.  Getting people to play and have fun together is a good way to protest war.  Tootophone playing tends to make people smile.  Let it be the people's instrument of the 21st century!

Hear sample recordings in the last step.