Q&A with Mr. Wesley Tootle about physics instruments

Q: How did the music performances

music instrument
This instrument is a form of xylophone. When the bars are struck, they vibrate and produce a sound through an open resonator. Physics students explored these concepts and different ways to make in tune notes before completing their projects. Photo courtesy of Taylor Evans.

A: We had a constellation of performances with all different types of materials used and songs played.  The majority were successful though.

Q: What kinds of instruments were constructed?

There were several forms of xylophones, jugs, wind instruments, a guitar, a trombone, and even a washtub bass.

Q: What was the purpose of this project?

A: It’s very easy to get lost in the physic of what we talk about but when we talk about waves and sound it makes sense to say ‘let’s make a sound.’ It gives students the opportunity to explore music using unconventional materials too.

Q: What is the value of this project and others done during the year?

The projects are honestly what makes the class fun.  We often get bogged down by the math and physics concepts but the projects tie everything together and make what we learn applicable to the real world.

Q: What is some advice you would give to incoming physics students?

It’s okay to struggle. I find that a lot of students are afraid of struggling and having a difficult time with concepts and problems, but doing so builds that character trait of perseverance.  Basically, don’t shy away from challenges.