Boomwhackers were invented around 1994 by Craig Ramsell while he was playing with trash (a finished roll of wrapping paper). The history of Boomwhackers starts out the same way that most other percussion instruments begin; someone accidentally made music with it. Because they were invented recently, it might be difficult for some to take Boomwhackers into any consideration as a defined musical instrument, but the life they bring into the music industry is unparalleled. They can be struck by any object or used to strike any surface in order to produce sounds. These sounds vary in pitch with objects, and surfaces used, as well as the way the Boomwhackers are held or where they are struck. Boomwhackers, to put it simply, are enjoyed by all who play them, no matter the reason or the age.
In the beginning, Junk Bands, performers who used instruments made from recycled materials, helped to make Boomwhackers popular. These musicians would have a difficult time finding old pipes and cutting them down to the right length, but the sound produced was well worth the work. Of course, for those without the time, there are those ready-made to purchase.
The simplistic nature of the Boomwhackers makes them an easy and fun toy for children and their transition into the arts. In fact, a lot of music educators use these instruments in the classroom to teach the younger generations the gift of sounds that can be produced by the simplest of objects. Of course, if you hand a five year old a stick, or something similar to it, he’s going to hit something/someone/himself with it. When it makes noise, life gets just a little brighter. For the older kids, while using the same concept of hand bells, an educator can teach the use of Boomwhackers in performance, focusing on things like timing and group work.
Boomwhackers are also wonderful tools in music therapy. Whether the musician has Autism, Down’s syndrome, anxiety disorders, depression or even a little stress, music has proven itself over and over again. Of course, it is all too easy to imagine banging these instruments around the room and instantly feeling better because of the physical exertion, but the real value of these instruments is the ability to accomplish so much with so little. With Boomwhackers, a parent, sibling, caretaker or educator can help to express rhythm, timing, taking turns, coordination, and motor skills to those with disabilities.
Boomwhackers may be simple instruments, but their power is in the accessibility they offer. They are expert tools in therapy, teaching and music. They helped redefine the minds of percussionists across the world, and made their way into homes everywhere. From trash to treasure, Boomwhackers are simply incredible.