Berkeley fourth-grader Ronan Kelley ran his fingers along the side of his wooden musical instrument feeling for rough edges he still needed to smooth with sandpaper.
It's an odd instrument - two small pizza-size boxes connected by a long, skinny neck - a product of his 9-year-old imagination and some help from a hammer and a jigsaw.
Ronan didn't know what he'd call it.
"Once I have heard what it sounds like, I can sort of take that into account," said the Berkeley School student.
While music education in many schools - if it exists at all - is limited to flutes, violins, clarinets and the occasional trumpet, at the East Bay independent school it is not so traditional. Music flows out of the minds of the students there and into instruments they've crafted themselves. Their guide is internationally renowned composer and musical instrument creator Paul Dresher.
Dresher, who works with his longtime collaborator Daniel Schmidt, a Berkeley School teacher, said the nine-week course in instrument building is meant to help children learn the physics and mechanisms of sound - how sound is made or manipulated.