Musical Instruments around the World

Explore the sounds, uses and the materials used in the manufacture of percussion instruments from around the world in this interactive hands-on session.

Play a talking drum from Ghana and learn how to change its pitch, feel the vibrations of a singing bowl, and explore world instruments made of unusual and recycled materials.

Discover instruments that create the sounds of a rainforest and use them to create a soundscape with your classmates whilst following a conductor.

As part of the session, your class will have exclusive access to the Hands On Music Space which features a wide range of world instruments.

Learning Objectives:

  • Pupils will play tuned and untuned instruments musically both alone and as part of a group
  • Pupils will experiment with and create different sounds and music using a range of world instruments
  • Pupils will learn that musical instruments are played around the world in a range of different contexts

The Horniman is the perfect place to explore your topic further. Explore our incredible Music Gallery, with collections of instruments – both ancient and modern – from across the world. Create music in our outdoor Sound Garden, or explore our World Gallery.

The Horniman is an Arts Award Supporter and Artsmark Partner.

Our Musical Instruments Around the World sessions can be put towards part A and B of your group’s Discover or Explore awards.

Find out more about Arts Award and Artsmark.

Please note that our Natural History Gallery  is now closed as part of a major 2 year redevelopment, Nature + Love. The rest of our Galleries, displays and Gardens will be open as usual, with plenty across the site to support your topic (including our Music and World Galleries). Our schools workshops are uneffected.

We will be opening a new, free temporary exhibition about the natural world, animals and their habitats, in September 2024.


Workshop information

How to book

Booking a taught session includes a welcome briefing on arrival, timed access to a lunch space, cloakroom facilities and access to toilets for the exclusive use of school groups.

Contact us to make a booking:
020 8291 8686

When you contact us please have ready:

– the name of the taught session you would like to book or topic you are studying,

– 1st/2nd/3rd choice of date and preferred session time,

– the number of pupils and adults attending.


Entrance to the Horniman Museum and Gardens is free of charge. Taught sessions and access to some exhibitions are charged for. We invoice after your visit.

The following charges apply:

Mainstream State schools: £90 including VAT, £75 excluding VAT

Private/independent schools: £129.60 including VAT, £108 excluding VAT

SEND schools and groups: £45 including VAT, £37.25 excluding VAT

We offer a bursary scheme for schools that meet a set criteria.

Planning your visit

See the School Trips page for other essential information including our risk assessment.

We are open from 10am–5.30pm. Entrance to the Museum and Gardens is free of charge.

We offer reduced educational rates for our Aquarium, Butterfly House, and Temporary exhibition. See the School Trips page for further information.

Charges apply to all children aged 3 years and over, and all accompanying teachers and adults, unless they are specific 1:1 carers.