Piano Chair With Makey Makey

About: Computing science teacher in Scotland, UK. Twitter: @mrmckaycomp

Turn an office swivel chair into a musical instrument! Follow these instructions to make your own musical chair. This is a very quick and easy instrument activity, suitable for a one-off class.

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Step 1: Add the Foil Base

Tear or cut strips of foil tape and attach to the base 'spokes' of the chair (Picture 1). The chair above has 5 spokes, so we could make a 5-note instrument.

Add foil to the armrests too - these will serve as Earth.

Connect each piece of foil on the base (Picture 2) to an arrow key on the Makey Makey (and one to space).

Step 2: Foil Armrests

Carefully attach clips to the foil pieces (Picture 1). Wire the two armrests together (one wire between them), then connect one to Earth on the Makey Makey (Picture 2).

Step 3: Create the Scratch Program

Set up a Scratch program with five 'when key pressed' blocks. Use the same keys as the Makey Makey - four arrow keys and space. Each key should play a different note: C, D, E, F and G (if you have five keys).

The examples above are in Scratch 2 (Picture 1) and Scratch 3 (Picture 2), but they do the same thing.

If you're using Scratch 3, add the music extension to find the green "play note" blocks (Picture 3).

Step 4: Play a Tune!

You need to hold the arms (which are earthed) when you play. When you touch the base foil, your body completes the circuit. Play in socks or bare feet to make sure you conduct, and make sure you hold onto the foil strips on the arms. Have fun!

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