What you’ll need...
1 slice of bread
Paints, glitter and stickers for decoration (optional)
A wooden spoon
An egg brush (or clean paintbrush)
Blu Tack/plasticine (optional)
Suitable for ages 5–14 (younger children will need adult supervision) Time guideline: 45 minutes
The Magic Flute is a famous opera by the composer Mozart. In this opera, a young prince called Tamino goes on a heroic quest to find Pamina, the woman with whom he falls in love and who has been kidnapped. Tamino is given a magic flute, to be used in times of great danger. When played, the music from this flute can be used to enchant wild beasts and change sorrow into joy.
In this activity, we’re going to show you how to make your own magic flute using an egg and a slice of bread!
First, preheat your oven to 180ºC or Gas Mark 4. Then, take one slice of bread, cut off the crusts, and roll it as flat as possible with a rolling pin. Always ask a grown-up for help with any chopping or cutting.
Take a wooden spoon. Wrap a piece of aluminium foil around the handle, and coat the foil in butter. This is important, as you’re going to wrap the bread around the handle, and you don’t want it to stick!
To get the right measurements for the tube of the flute, take the bread and wrap it around the foil-coated spoon handle and cut off any excess bread overlap. The two edges of bread should meet neatly around the spoon handle. Put the bread down flat on the table again – we’re not ready to make it into a flute just yet!
Next, take one egg and split the yolk from the white. We’re just going to use the egg white. Paste the egg white all over one side of the slice of bread. Wrap the bread around the foil-coated spoon handle again, with the pasted side of the bread on the inside. Use the egg white as a glue to keep the two edges together. You can now paste the egg white over the outside of the bread as well.
Take a straw and use it to punch out the holes of the flute. For the mouth hole at the top of the flute, use the straw twice in one place to make a longer oval shape. Then punch out three single finger holes further down the flute.
Now wiggle the spoon out from the silver foil, and fill the remaining hollow space with a rod of scrunched-up foil. This will help fill out the hollow shape and make sure the flute doesn’t collapse in the oven.
Pop your flute in the oven for 10–15 minutes until it browns. Make sure to keep an eye on it! Take it out of the oven, and if it’s hard enough, remove the foil and cover the flute with some more egg white both on the inside and outside of the cylinder, making sure to keep the holes gunk-free! Put the flute back in the oven for a further 10–15 minutes to make sure it goes really hard and golden brown.
When it’s ready, take the flute out of the oven and set it on a tray or wire rack to cool. Once cooled, your flute will be ready to paint and decorate. Acrylic paints, glitter and stickers will all work well for this.
Playing your flute
In order for a flute to sound, the air that you blow down it needs to pass through the instrument in one direction. Take some Blu Tack or plasticine and gently block up the top end of your flute. Alternatively, you can use a spare finger or thumb. This will mean the air won’t escape out of both ends when the flute is being played.
Now take a look at the picture at the top of this page. Look at how the performer is holding their flute to the side of their mouth. This is how you should hold your flute, with the larger hole you made at one end meeting your lips, and your fingers comfortably covering up the other holes you made further down the instrument.
Experiment with gently blowing over the larger hole and working out how to get the best sound. If you adjust the angle at which you blow onto the hole, you may find you get a fuller sound. Covering up the holes with your fingers will affect the pitch of the sound you make. With all the holes covered, a lower pitch will sound, and with fewer holes covered, a higher pitch will sound. See if you can play a tune you know, or compose your own!
What I have learned...
How to make a working musical instrument DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
How to choose appropriate decorations for your instrument ART AND DESIGN
How to confidently prepare ingredients to produce a baked item FOOD TECHNOLOGY
How to use improvisation to compose a piece of music MUSIC
Can you play a tune on your magic ‘bread flute’? Has your magic music turned your lockdown sorrow into joy? We would love to be enchanted by your compositions, so please ask a parent or guardian to take a picture and share your work with us on social media! #kuuoliving