Education and Learning with The Junkman™

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The Junkman’s™ Education Philosophy

“I love children, I love music, I love Mother Earth, and I love teaching. I love passing my dedication to the things I love on to 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!”

2024  Programs
All of which contain Enviro-Chants from the award-winning HOP Program

Interactive Assembly Concerts

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. The concert ends with an interactive Junkjam™ wherein the audience, using provided junk and sticks, gets to play along with The Junkmanand Enviro-Chants from the HOP Program .

Here is a brief video demonstration of the Interactive Assembly Concert:


Workshops offer a deeper level of interactivity than concerts and, therefore, are ideally capped at 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 a love of music, as well as the awareness that everyone loves music because we all have the beat in our bodies (our heart). It is this commonality that what draws us to music, makes us want to dance, tap our feet and listen. A successful workshop means that each and every child leaves the room with an appreciation of rhythm and the experience of having performed as musicians. 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.

We also discuss, develop, and then jam to Enviro-Chants that contain suggestions that empower students to change specific daily habits that yields a healthier planet earth for both our Physical Environment (soil, water, air, climate, etc.) as well as our Personal Environment (How we treats others and wish to be treated, ie. bullying, inclusiveness, kindness, respect, listening et al).


Please note that all Junk Music residencies and programs are age appropriate, inclusive, and based upon The Junkman’s award-winning, HOP (Help Our Planet) Environmental Education Initiative.

In the 2024 season, The Junkman™ offers two distinctly different types of residencies: The Music-Based Residency and the Sculpture-Based residency. The Music-Based Residency focuses upon creating and performing music using recycled materials. The Sculpture-Based Residency is available in two options – the Playstation, wherein a single, large sound sculpture is created and the JunkStation, wherein several smaller sound sculptures are created. The JunkStation residency is ideal for schools with limited space.

Music-Based Residency

A one or two week residency during which students learn to make instruments, create music and perform.

To start, each class collects a specific family of reused and/or recycled materials. The students then work with The Junkman™ to construct simple percussion instruments, and sound-producing devices from these materials. Everyone then works together to develop/compose a short music composition which they will perform at the Closing Concert.

Here is the closing concert of a music-based residency:

Playstation™ Residency

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.

As this residency is construction oriented, it covers: 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 bodies, hands, and ears.

Examples of Sculpture Building Residencies:

JunkSTATIONS™ Residency

The third type of residency is a JunkSTATIONS residency.

About a year ago, The Junkman™ was reading a recipe for deconstructed sushi, and thought “Wow, I can do that with my Playstations!”

Hence the birth of the JunkSTATIONS. Instead of one gigantic (difficult to move) Playstation, we have several small, easy to move, individual stations that can be adapted to the size of the children and the range of their reach. The beauty of the JunkSTATIONS is that children have access to all sides at once. Please note that apart from the size, weight, and portability changes, any and all parameters of this residency are identical to that of the PlayStation Residency.

Here are some photos and a video that demonstrates the JunkSTATIONS in musical action:

Coming Soon!

Currently in the final stages of prototype development: The Junk Music “Hear Our Voice” Residency.

Students compose the lyrics and melody for a school anthem that reveals their inner feelings about living and surviving in 2024, in their own words.

“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

We were overwhelmed with the feedback we had from the children after your performances and workshops. All of them thoroughly enjoyed it and it inspired them to think about making their own instruments out of junk too! The incredible response was wonderful.

White Rock Primary School, Paignton, Devon, UK

They absolutely loved it!  Great day of amazing rhythms and original music.

Soundlaunch, Torquay, Devon, UK

Our teachers say it was the best assembly we have ever had!

Michael J. Peterides School, Staten Island, NY

Thank you so much for the sessions you ran for us today. The kids (and adults!) loved working with you!

Mayfield School, Torquay, Devon, UK

We all learned something from this wonderful presentation!

Kulturhuset, Stockholm, Sweden
On a scale of one to ten with ten the highest, we rate The Junkman a ten!
Seabrook Middle School , Seabrook, NH

Thank you for your energy and passion!

The Academy, Charlemont, MA

Staff members noted this was one of the best residencies ever held at the school.

Craftsbury Schools, Craftsbury, VT
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