This article comes from ‘The Green Schoolhouse Series” and can be found in it’s original form here.


Studies have shown that students who learn to play a musical instrument perform better academically than those who don’t.

Music involves rhythm, counting beats and notes, and recognizing and following patterns, which students can easily relate to math and other subject areas.

The International Journal of Music Education says that, although historically it has been assumed that there is a strong connection between music and mathematics, music instruction may also help with reading and more general perception, timing and language skills.  For instance, music may increase verbal memory, as one study showed that learning to play a musical instrument enhanced the ability to remember words.

So with all of the academic benefits music can provide, what if teachers combined this subject with sustainability?

You may recall blowing into plastic jugs of varying water levels in school, to hear the different sounds that were made – a lesson combining science, music and recycling (learn more).  But what if this process of recycling common materials into lesson-teaching, sound-making objects went a step further … into an entire orchestra?

Scratch that.  A junkestra.

Mark Sepic, jazz guitarist by profession, is also an artist who discovered a way to weave his love of music and art together with his deep commitment to the environment by producing art pieces that are also instruments … all made of “junk.”

The musician, artist and obsessive recycler (according to his site) has been teaching and performing since 1980. In fact, in one article, Sepic says “I must’ve recycled 10,000 to 20,000 tin cans over the last 15 to 20 years in schools, making them into drums.”