Episode 3: Sound Construction: Build Instruments at Home with Steve Parker


Lesson Description:
Learn how to make music at home with simple household materials, and get a sneak preview of some of the instruments Steve is building for KMFA’s Sound Garden installation in his own home studio.

Materials Needed:

  • 2-3 balloons
  • a disposable plastic water bottle
  • a tube (cardboard, PVC, vinyl) about 1" in diameter. The cardboard tube inside a roll of aluminum foil works great.
  • masking tape & scissors
  • a drill (optional)

Presenter Biography:

Steve Parker is an artist, musician, and curator living in Austin, TX.

Parker creates communal, democratic work to examine history, systems, and behavior. His projects include elaborate civic rituals for humans, animals, and machines; listening sculptures modeled after obsolete surveillance tools; and cathartic transportation symphonies for operators of cars, pedicabs, and bicycles. He is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a Harrington Fellowship, and the Tito’s Prize.

Parker has exhibited and performed at institutions, public spaces, and festivals internationally.  Highlights include Art Basel Miami Beach, the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), MASS MoCA, the Lincoln Center Festival, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Fusebox Festival, Tanglewood, Los Angeles Philharmonic inSIGHT, SXSW, the Stone, Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans), the Blanton Museum of Art (Austin), the Asian Arts Initiative (Philadelphia), The Contemporary Austin, Bowerbird, and the Gene Siskel Film Center (Chicago). As a soloist and as an artist of NYC-based "new music dream team" Ensemble Signal, he has premiered 200+ new works. His work has been reviewed by the New York Times, PBS News Hour, and NPR Performance Today, among others.  

Parker has been awarded support from the National Endowment for the Arts, New Music USA, the Copland Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, and the Mid America Arts Alliance. He is the Curator of SoundSpace at the Blanton Museum of Art, Executive Director of Collide Arts, and a full-time faculty member at UT San Antonio. He holds degrees in Math and Music from Oberlin, Rice, and UT Austin.

Visit their page for more information: https://www.steve-parker.net/



Grades 2-5 | Music. Music literacy: Identify instruments visually and aurally.

Grade 5 | Science. Force, motion, and energy: Explore the uses of energy, including mechanical, light, thermal, electrical, and sound energy.

Middle School 1, 2, 3 | Art. Historical and cultural relevance: Explore career and avocational opportunities in art such as various design, museum, and fine arts fields.

High School 1, 2, 3, 4 | Art. Observation and perception: Consider concepts and ideas from direct observation, original sources, experiences, and imagination.