MSU musician builds greener instrument

Jan 30, 2014

Alex Smith builds his own marimba out of Michigan Sassafras.
Credit Gabriela Saldivia/The Michigandered Marimba

When we think about our carbon footprint, we often look at things like our car’s gas mileage, our home’s energy usage, and how far our food had to travel to get to the plate. Rarely mentioned in a discussion about carbon footprints, however, are musical instruments.

Many traditional musical instruments are made of wood, and likely the same kind of wood they’ve been made out of for centuries. However, the trees that produce much of this wood are in decline all around the world.

One graduate student in the School of Music at Michigan State University decided to do something about his musical carbon footprint. He built his own sustainable instrument made from local materials, but it’s not just any old instrument.

Current State’s Gabriela Saldivia looks at the issues of sustainability in todays musical instruments and how musicians are adapting.