What is a gong? It’s a large, hanging percussion instrument that you strike with a stick or a beater for a wonderful, loud resonant sound that will definitely make anyone around you sit up and take notice. In ancient China, it’s said that gongs called farmers in from the fields, and some were so loud that they could be heard almost 50 miles away!
- a metal (foil), disposable roasting pan
- hole punch
- pipe cleaners or yarn
- a cardboard tube from wrapping paper
- two chairs
- electrical tape
- wooden pole (or something else with which to beat the gong; we used a wooden dowel, but you could also use a wooden spoon, a chopstick, or an unsharpened pencil)
- paint, stickers, glitter, glue, or textured paint for decorating the gong (optional)
- Find something to use as the large metal “dish.” My favorite choice for this is a disposable metal turkey roaster (available from any dollar or grocery store). If you don’t have one, you can try a large disposable metal cake pan or even smaller pie tins. But remember, the larger the pan, the better the sound.
- Punch two holes near the top of your metal pan—about two to three inches apart. Then, slip a pipe cleaner through each hole and twist the ends together to form a circle. These are the loops with which to hang up your gong. But what will it hang from?
- For an easy movable stand, take two chairs and set them two to three feet apart, facing outward. Across the top of the chair backs, place a cardboard tube from wrapping paper or a large stick or broomstick. Slip the handles of your gong onto the stick and it will hang down perfectly.
- To decorate your gong, you can add Chinese symbols or stickers, paint, glitter, and glue to make your own gong unique and special. After it’s dry, you can put it back in place, ready to be played.
- Lastly, you’ll need a beater to strike the gong. We used a 12″ wooden dowel and wrapped one side with electrical tape to form a head (that’s the side that will strike the gong). If you don’t have a wooden dowel, you can substitute a wooden spoon, a chopstick, or an unsharpened pencil: just wrap the head the same way, with your tape on the end that will strike the gong.
Happy Chinese New Year!