In the garden... Composing at Home (Children) >

In this activity you will create music using things you find in the garden or park inspired by composer John Cage's Child of Tree.

Activity Panel

In the garden...

Child of Tree is a piece of music by John Cage which uses found objects. Listen to this beautiful performance by Rosie Bergonzi.

What instruments do you recognise and what other sound makers can you spot? How many can you find in your garden or in your local park?

This piece was originally used as music for dance.  Composer John Cage was inspired to create the piece when a dancer brought him a dried cactus, placed it near his ear, and plucked its spines. The composer instructs the performer to only use instruments made from plants

Instead of music notes, the musical score is a set of instructions telling the performer how to select which of 10 instruments/sounds to use.  

Your turn!

Head into your garden or your local park and see how many sounds you can find made from natural materials. Sticks, logs, feathers, cones, decking, garden benches, seed pods.... Choose 6 of them.  Here's some I collected from my garden plus an instrument I have made from seed pods.

natural objects

Composer John Cage asks the performer in Child of Tree to use the Chinese chance procedure I Ching to decide what order to play his sounds. Instead of using I Ching, number your sounds 1 to 6 and roll a dice to decide on the order to play your sounds. You can make it as long or short as you like. Make different pieces then record the one you like best.

Please send the music you make to