Education and Learning with The Junkman™

The Standards

The Junkman™ offers three programs to schools: Interactive Assembly Concerts, Workshops and Residencies. Here you will see the Standards, Learning Opportunities and Common Core Standards present in each of The Junkman’s three programs for schools.

Click PDF icon below to view “Commonwealth of Virginia Standards and Learning Opportunities present in Junk Music™ programs”

Click PDF icon below to download The Junkman’s™ Teachers Guide


The Junkman’s™ Overall Standard

“I love children, I love music, I love Mother Earth, and I love teaching. I love passing my dedication to the things I love unto the children in such a way that instills in them the desire to become an active and positive participant in music and the environment and to have great FUN in the process!”

The Programs

Interactive Assembly Concert

Typically lasting 45 minutes to one hour, the concert features music selections that offer a very diverse array of styles, tempi and instrumentation. The concert begins with Mishmash Music which mixes together the four major families of recycled materials: wood, metal, plastic and glass. Then Wood Music, followed by Body Music using only the human body and voice, Rock Music with real rocks, Kitchen Music on kitchen utensils, an amazing percussion solo on the entire junk rack, Zen Samba which gets everyone moving and Beat the Can with its amazing virtuosity.

Topics covered by The Junkman™ in his concert are: 

  • What is Junk Music™? 
  • Introducing the junk instruments and rack
  • What is resonance?
  • Discussion of the origins of making music using found objects
  • Demonstrate making music with the human body and beatboxing
  • Interactively interactively discuss the HOP environmental education program
  • Interactively teach the eco-chants in rhythm.
  • What is percussion?
  • What is a solo? 
  • Interactive Junkjam™ with the entire audience using the eco-chants.

    These chants include:  I am not a lit-ter- bug / Don’t let the wa-ter run / Take less time, in the sho-wer / Use less bath wa-ter / Turn out the lights – / I save en-er-gy.

Here is a brief video demonstration the Interactive Assembly Concert: 


Workshops typically begin with a shorter version of the Interactive Assembly Concert and then move directly into classes (ideally 25 students or less in each class). Workshops generally range from one to four days dependent upon the size of the student body and whether or not all students are to be included in the class schedule.

The Junkman’s main music goal is to instill in each student that everyone loves music because we all have the beat in our bodies (our heart). That is what draws us to music, makes us want to dance, tap our feet and listen forever. A successful workshop means that each and every child leaves the room with that knowledge, also knowing they performed as musicians in that class. This will hopefully manifest the desire in each student to remain an active participant in making music. All the aspects of being a good team player are also discussed: awareness of others and their actions, follow the leader, listening, focus and proper performance manners.

On the environmental side, we take up with the eco-chants they learned in the concert and we further discuss and develop eco-chants for all the main topics: water, energy, littering, less is more, change, footprint, stuff & things and the state of the earth.


The Junkman™offers two different types of residencies. The first is a music-based residency. Each class in the school will be assigned a material (such as wood or metal). The members of each class and parents then comb their houses and garages looking for objects made from their assigned material. These materials are then brought into the respective classrooms. The Junkman™ then works with each class to make instruments or sound-producing objects and then to make a music composition for their instruments. The materials, instruments and the music compositions of each class will be totally unique to that class.

The second type residency is a sculpture-based residency. The Junkman™ and students construct a sound sculpture made exclusively from recycled materials in which up to 20 students can simultaneously perform upon. The sculpture, known as a Junk Music™Playstation, is a permanent installation which most schools place on the playground. The Junkman™works in advance with a school contact to gather all the recycled materials prior to the beginning of the residency.

Both the music-based residency and the sculpture-based residency include and expand upon all the above-mentioned topics. As both types of residencies are construction oriented, here are the areas covered in each residency: practicality and functionality in design, measuring and marking, leveling, sanding & filing, using the basic tools: screw drivers, pliers, wrenches, hammer, vice grips, and electric saw & drill, mounting and suspension, nodal points, cutting, color design and painting. All are accomplished with the highest level of safety for each individuals’ body, eyes and ears.

Both types of residencies open with a short introduction concert for the entire school and the residency closes with a public performance in which the students demonstrate what they have learned.

Here is a short video of scenes from the closing concert of a music-based residency:

Kind Words about The Junkman™

“Of all the artists that have done residencies in my tenure in education, The Junkman was the best.

 I was extremely impressed with his message and what he was able to accomplish with the students. ” – Lakeview Elementary School
Greensboro, VT

On a scale of one to ten with ten the highest, we rate The Junkman a ten!
Seabrook Middle School , Seabrook, NH
I wanted to thank you for coming to our school and doing such a great job with our kids.  The students had a unique, valuable, and enjoyable experience in your workshop and performance.
Bellport High School Bellport, NY, Bellport, NY
Donald Knaack is both a talented and capable teacher that enriched the school environment as well as the whole child.
Underhill Central School, Underhill Center, VT
Not only does Knaack bring out the music in an object, he does the same with people. With his friendly support and cooperation, this event was planned by the Cultural Center and Knaack as a Family Day of conservation-related crafts and music workshops. The Junkman’s unpretentious humanitarianism, talents, and simple love for playing percussion provided all at once a great concert, a musically educational experience and a happy day for our Staten Island community.
Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, NY
He introduced the students to new and relevant information about percussion, music, acoustics, the environment and construction.
Tucumcari Elementary School, Tucumcari, NM