Let’s talk about the kazoo!

It’s small
It Fits in your pocket
Lightweight and easy to transport
Brightly Colored
Extremely Affordable
Easy to Clean

Really, is there anything bad about the kazoo? I don’t think so.

So why do I like the Kazoo so much?

Because not only is it super fun to watch my daughter run around the house and hearing that buzz, but it is a great manipulative and learning tool. Let me tell you my experience with the wonderful kazoo:

The kazoo was my daughter’s first real instrument. Yes, you heard me correctly. My daughter runs around the house playing and buzzing and humming, but if you stop and really listen to her you’ll notice that she is doing some amazing things. She plays phrases through her kazoo (beginning sentence structure) and manipulates the sound so it moves up and down (hello inflection)! These are fantastic tools when it does come to communicating and playing. Musically? Phrases and Pitch? Wow.. this is quite the amazing tool.

Therapeutically, it provides not only the above communication facets, but also has a socialization component as well. During my internship several years ago, I had my first real encounter with the kazoo therapeutically. I was working with a little girl who did not speak and was extremely shy! She would whisper sounds, but never more than that. When music played, she would dance and quietly hum, as long as she perceived that no one was watching.  During Music Therapy group sessions, she would watch intently as all of the kids around her were singing and/or signing with the music. While her shyness often took over, it appeared that it was also a lack of ability to produce sound. I found that while she could hum, once her mouth opened, she was lost in a word she did not know.

About two months into my internship, I had the opportunity to work with her one-on-one. I tried several instruments in an effort to excite her enough to squeal with joy! I sang familiar songs in hopes that she would inadvertently vocalize when leaving the words out at the end of phrases.  This wasn’t getting us too far with her vocalization and so I needed something new.  I then decided to give her a kazoo.  I knew she could hum quietly and playing the kazoo would definitely give her the need for producing louder and more purposeful sounds.  She instantly took to the kazoo figured out the mechanics very quickly and began to imitate and play familiar songs and phrases.  We then took a trip down the hall, timid at first, as she has always been, but walking with her head held a little higher (and a kazoo hanging out of her mouth).

I don’t know if it was the kazoo itself being something of a physical buffer between her and the other people, or the confidence she was given with her success on the instrument now regularly hanging out of her mouth.  Either way, she walked down that hallway and for the first time, actually waved at the passersby instead of immediately looking towards the floor.  Several months later, this same child who at one point would rather look at her shoes or hide in a corner when anyone was paying attention to her, was walking down the hall and saying “hello” to everyone, and dancing and vocalizing in the classroom during music therapy sessions.  She gained more language as time and music and speech therapy continued and it was nice to leave internship knowing that she now possessed the foundation for language learning.

So now you see why I find the kazoo so magical!  It breaks down walls with a single buzz.