I think the kazoo and chocolate-chip cookies have a lot in common. All you need is a mouth to appreciate either one. -Wally Amos
Yesterday, January 28 was National Kazoo Day. Yes this might seem a random celebration of an instrument many of us have become accustomed to seeing only in the mouths of children but the kazoo has quite a history: “A guy by the name of Alabama Vest got the idea for the kazoo in the 1840’s in Macon, Georgia. He teamed up with the German clock manufacturer Thaddeus Von Glegg to construct the first kazoo.” (source: http://www.nationalkazooday.com/kazoo-history.html) The factory that produced the first kazoo still exists today and there is even a museum located right next door for those history buffs looking to learn about the storied history of this ‘different’ musical instrument.
As many of us remember as children, the kazoo is different than normal instruments that we had tried. The first time you tried the kazoo you likely made the same mistake as everyone else; blowing hard into the end only to hear air coming out the other end. It likely did not take more than a few tries for you to realize that the way to engage the vibrating mechanism in this instrument was not with more powerful expenditure of your own oxygen, but rather a gentle humming sound. I’m sure it wasn’t long before you were marching around your house driving your mother crazy with whatever tune you could conjure up and elicit from this plastic wonderpiece.
We don’t often play the kazoo as adults anymore, having learned that the sound is annoying and not particularly classified as music to those around us. But the humble kazoo can remind us of a simple lesson; the harder you blow and the more air you expel is directly proportional to the ability for those around you to hear the music. Do you have a story you’re trying to tell in the animal rescue world? Are you trying to get attention on social media? Do you feel the need to SHOUT your message with CAPS and EXCLAMATION POINTS and words like URGENT, CODE RED and DESPERATE? Why not change your approach and have the story and music be heard from your humble humming. Try humming your tune and inspiring others to listen to your story. Watch as others tap their foot, join the chorus or are otherwise included to stop and listen to your song. Write about what is good in animal rescue; write about who inspires you; write about what you appreciate. Let your kazoo broadcast your song in a familiar tone that everyone can relate to and appreciate. You’ll put a smile on their face and likely one on your own as well.