How Does a Kazoo Work?

Have you ever wondered how a kazoo works? No, right? Most of the time, we have listened to the humming of kazoo but never thought about how it actually works. Kazoo is a musical instrument widely used in America. When you play this instrument, different types of sounds are produced. It is widely used by musicians in bands, parades, parties, etc. How does a kazoo work? Before understanding this, you need to teach children about the structure and facts about the instrument. Playing instruments is one of the hobbies that most children want to inculcate. Learning and making a handmade kazoo can be one of the science project ideas for children. 


To teach children how a kazoo works, you need to conduct science experiments for kids so that they understand the concept of sound easily. Apart from getting familiar with the structure of the instrument, it is also important that children know the mechanism behind the sound it produces. The sound of the player gets modified by the vibrations of the membrane. How does a kazoo work? This concept can be taught to kids in the form of an experiment by making them build their own kazoo. Let us check out the detailed information given below. 

What is a Kazoo?

A kazoo is a musical instrument played in bands, parties, parades, etc. Though you are surrounded by all other noises, you can hear and identify the sound of the kazoo easily. Kazoos are tube-shaped instruments with one end circular in shape, whereas the other end is flattened. It also has another opening consisting of a thin membrane that vibrates when you sing or hum. The sound of the instrument is so unique that it differentiates it from other sounds. The hole of the instrument is made up of a membrane that vibrates, resulting in producing the sound. People have been using a kazoo for years in order to play in parties and other occasions. Kazoos have been used by people for ages. 

The sound is produced when you sing or hum, and the sound waves travel through the instrument. A kazoo belongs to the mirlitons family of musical instruments. The membrane outside the instrument starts vibrating when someone hums. It is a very inexpensive and light-weighted instrument that makes it easier for musicians to carry them around. Famous bands across the United States use this instrument for their musical concerts. A kazoo is made up of wood, metal and also electric, especially for the musicians who want to record and keep track of the sound it produces.  

Fun Facts about a Kazoo

Some of the interesting facts about a kazoo are mentioned below:

  • A kazoo was invented by Alabama in the 1840s. 
  • It is also called a wind instrument.
  • The good quality kazoo is usually made with metals. 
  • A kazoo consists of a thin resonating membrane that helps in producing sound. 
  • The sound is produced in a kazoo when you sing or hum. 
  • The name kazoo was given by Warren Frost in 1883. 
  • The humming sound enables the membrane to vibrate in order to produce sound. 
  • It belongs to the family of mirlitons that are likely to produce buzzing sounds similar to a kazoo. 
  • The materials used to make the membrane should be resistant to tearing and can increase the resonance. 
  • The instrument depends on the voice of a player in order to produce sounds. 
  • It comes in different shapes and sizes. 
  • The buzzing sound of the instrument is due to the vibration of the membrane. 
  • The body of the kazoo is made up of different materials such as wood, metal, plastic, etc. 
  • Plastic kazoos have been produced on a large scale in recent times compared to wood and glass. 
  • A museum is dedicated to the kazoo in South Carolina in the United States. 
  • In today’s world, silicon plastics are used as the membrane in the instrument. 
  • A kazoo has three important parts such as the main body, a hole and a resonating membrane. 
  • The shape of the kazoo looks similar to submarines. 
  • Players need to hum sounds such as “rrr”, ‘doo’, ‘who’, etc in the instrument in order to produce different tunes. 

How to Play a Kazoo?

Here are a few tips to learn how to play a kazoo for children given below:

  • Purchase or create a kazoo that you want to play. 
  • Hold the instrument horizontally. Keep the wider part of the instrument in your mouth. 
  • To create a sound, you need to hum inside rather than blowing into the instrument. 
  • You can hum or sing songs that you like. 
  • Practice humming songs before you play them on the instrument so that you get your tune right. 
  • Understand the pitch while playing the instrument to practice and recreate musical notes. 
  • Be attentive and concentrate on notes that you want to play on the instrument. 
  • Practice the instrument on a daily basis to attain mastery in creating great music. 

Easy Science Project: How Does a Kazoo Work?

A kazoo is one of the instruments that most children love to play. They can expect a kazoo as a gift for their birthdays, New Year or Christmas. Children like to hum into the kazoo so that they can make creative sounds and music. To explain to them how a kazoo works, you need to ask them to create an instrument of their own. Let us look into the process of creating a homemade kazoo for kids given below. 

How Does a Kazoo Work?

Aim of the Project

To create a homemade musical instrument with the materials available at home. Record the observations and see how a sound is produced. 

Materials Required

  • An empty toilet paper roll
  • A piece of waxed paper
  • A rubber band
  • A scissor
  • A pen or a marker
  • Crayons


  • Take a small empty toilet paper roll.
  • Take a piece of wax paper and place it on one end of the paper roll. 
  • Gently wrap the wax paper around the roll with a rubber band. You need to make sure that the wax paper tied around the paper roll does not loosen. 
  • Take a pen or a marker and draw a small circle on the paper roll slightly towards the wax paper. 
  • Then, take a scissor and poke inside the circle in order to make a hole. You can trim the extra paper that becomes a hindrance to create an exact hole for the instrument. 
  • Color the paper roll using crayons.
  • Put one end of the paper roll into your mouth and hum a tune or sing a song. 
  • Observe and record the changes. 


It was observed that when you hum a tune, the sound travels throughout the tube. Music is created when the oscillating pressure in the tube vibrates the membrane. The membrane used in this instrument is wax paper. The sound waves in this instrument bounce back or hit the walls of the tube to create a tune or music. And these waves hit the membrane so that it vibrates to produce buzzing sounds. This is responsible for harmonics to the sound. The hole in the tube helps you hear your own voice that is amplified and resonant. 

Benefits of Learning about a Kazoo

Some of the benefits of learning about a kazoo are mentioned below:

  • Enhances knowledge about kazoo in children. 
  • Develops interest to play the kazoo as a hobby or take it as a profession in the future. 
  • Enables children to understand the structure and mechanism of the instrument. 
  • Playing the kazoo helps children in learning music and having deep knowledge about the sounds. 
  • Enables children to understand the rhythms and tune while playing the instrument.  
  • Creates interest to perform science experiments in order to understand the concept behind the sound it produces. 
  • Develops creativity skills in children while making a handmade instrument for themselves. 
  • Improves patience and observation skills in children while making a musical instrument.
  • Helps in relieving stress among children while playing music. 
  • Builds confidence to learn new things. 
  • Creates a fun and entertaining environment for children while playing an instrument. 
  • Helps children in understanding the function of each part of the instrument easily. 
  • Helps in developing a passion for music among children. 
  • Builds self-expression among children.
  • Helps in activating the vestibular system in children. 
  • Develops critical thinking and problem-solving skills in children while creating their own musical instrument. 

To know more information, explore science games for kids, STEM activities for kids in the kids learning section at Osmo.

Frequently Asked Questions on How Does a Kazoo Work?

How does a kazoo work?

A kazoo is a tube-shaped musical instrument consisting of a circular opening at one end and flattened at the other end. It creates music or a tune when you hum or sing, and the sound waves travel throughout the instrument enabling the membrane to vibrate.

What are the benefits of learning about a kazoo?

The benefits of learning about a kazoo are that it helps children to develop an understanding of the concept behind the sound it produces. Additionally, it helps in creating interest to learn musical instruments and at the same time enhance their creativity skills. Performing experiments help them develop observational and analytical skills.

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