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Croton Second-Graders Learn About Recycling With 'Bash the Trash'

“Bash the Trash” musicians Rohin Khemani, Carina Piaggio and John Bertles performed with musical instrument made out of recycled materials at Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary School May 4 Photo Credit: Croton-Harmon Schools
Inspired by “Bash the Trash” performances, second-grade students made their own musical instruments using recycled materials they brought from home. Photo Credit: Croton-Harmon Schools
Photo Credit: Croton-Harmon Schools

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary School students were not only entertained by a “Bash the Trash” performance May 4, but they also learned important life lessons about being creative and caring for the environment.

John Bertles, who founded “Bash the Trash” with his wife, Carina Piaggio, in 1988, told students they might be little, but they still can make a big difference on the planet. Emphasizing the reduce, reuse and recycle philosophy, the musicians used cardboard, tubes, pipes, broomsticks, hoses, straws, refrigerator drawers and other repurposed materials to make musical instruments. The group brings its program to schools, concerts halls and other performing arts centers and have been visiting Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary each year for the past five years.

“Music is everywhere, and I think it’s really important to foster that within the children and realize that everyone can be musical in their own way,” said Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary music teacher Marlena Peters. “You don’t need money to buy expensive instruments.”

During the performance, the musicians showed children how to make sounds with different objects, had them clap along to each beat and made them promise to keep the Earth clean. Following the show, second-grade students were able to make their own musical instruments using recycled materials they brought to school from home. Peters said the activity taught them about problem solving and being creative, all while saving the planet.

“What happens with the kids during the workshops is very interesting,” Piaggio said. “They learn things by trial and error, and when they discover something, it’s like the world opens up for them. It’s a beautiful thing. You get to see things differently when you understand how as part of the original rhythmic composition curriculum, students get to perform in class with their new instruments.”

“It’s very cool that they can make music out of cans and tubes,” said second-grader Emma Osborne, who created her own instruments — a guitar made out of a plastic container and rubber bands and a maraca made from a can and rocks.

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