Henry M. Jackson High School jazz students create clarinets out of carrots

Ben Lee playing his 'carrotnet'. Photo credit: Everett School District.

From an Everett Public Schools news release.

Located in Stanwood, Camp Killoqua and has been the site of the Henry M. Jackson High School jazz ensemble retreat for many years.

This year, Lesley Moffat, Jackson’s Director of Bands, Jazz and Percussion, designed a kick-off/ice breaker activity that included music, physics and carrots – one of the world’s healthiest vegetables.

Based on a TED Talk, and enlisting the services of Jackson senior Ben Lee and physics teacher Andrew Sevald, the students learned how to make a very serviceable instrument out of the vegetable and created the ‘carrotnet.’ They were able to hear its very specific and individualistic ‘sound’ while also understanding the physics of how it all worked. 

After Sevald’s mini-lecture on the physics, teams worked to craft their instruments. Ben Lee, who had previously learned how to play a snazzy little riff with the ‘carrotnet’, allowed students to compare the musicality of each instrument. Ben was accompanied by Jeremy Steckler on bass, Marty “CarrotStix” Smith on drums, and Landon Spaw on guitar.

Caught up in the enthusiasm of the moment, Jackson Principal Dave Peters and Sevald teamed up to make their own instrument.

“It sounded pretty good with the exception of the ‘thumb hole’ note.  I wish I hadn’t talked Dave into drilling it where we did,” lamented Sevald.

Teams included jazz students: Alex Banning, Marcellius Caviness, David Guyro, Conner Hittle, Lessane Ketame, Christian Kim, Ben Lee, Alex McNeal, Alia Memon, Austin Pischer, Rhonda Salsbery, Marty Smith, Landon Spaw, Jeremy Steckler, Jessie Todd, Monica Weber, and Bridgette VanHorne.

Several teams made carrotnets and battled musically between the teams.

It was Jackson’s embrace of both STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and STEM (Success Through Exceptional Music),” said Sevald.

The Spaw/Hittle instrument was a clear winner but I could have listened to any of them for hours,” said Sevald. “It was an amazing event.”



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