Yesterday I posted a blog about using the black keys of the piano to come up with your own music in the common pattern of a pentatonic scale.  But this can be done on any instrument, you know!

My two main instruments are the hammered dulcimer (ancestor of the piano but laid out very differently) and the flute family, which includes the whistle (tinwhistle, pennywhistle), so for players on those instruments let me adapt the idea and you won't have to go to a piano!

The piano's black keys, though they're all flats or sharps, have exactly the same relationship of scale steps as "Do-re-mi, sol-la," or "1-2-3, 5-6," or G-A-B, D-E.

On hammered dulcimer, then, just find the notes G-A-B, D-E and have fun exploring!  Just make sure you stay on those notes (any octave) and don't try any others till you've become sure of how the pentatonic pattern sounds and looks.  You'll find that all the ringing of the hammered dulcimer causes a very pleasant windchime effect with that set of notes!

On whistle (and also on concert flute or bamboo flute, for that matter), you just locate the same set of notes!  I find that the motions of the pentatonic scale are very natural for the fingers, and I can sound very virtuosic when doing something very simple!  D and E are at the bottom of the range of a whistle, but G tends to sound like the main scale step (the "tonic" or "root").   For the note D you put all six fingers down on the holes, then lift the rightmost one for E, lift two more fingers for G, then one more for A and one more for B (now only one finger is down), and start mixing and matching these fingerings and you'll find yourself coming up with real music!

Please try this!  It is one of the most freeing and quickly satisfying skills you will ever have!  Why, you can carry a whistle while hiking in the mountains and pull it out during a rest break and listen to the pentatonic scale reflect off the trees, or pass by the dulcimer in the living room and grab the hammers and fill the room with beauty for a few seconds...