Today was the first course, and I'm used on that occasion, to ask the students to invent and draw something, just to be able to evaluate their potential. This morning, I first explained to them how a simple whistle works, with a thin air flow splitting on a sharp labium, part of the air going "outside" and part of it in a closed cavity, on which capacity depends the tonality of the whistling that is produced. I drew this on the blackboard :
I also told them that, if the whistle cavity could be voluntarily shrunk or enlarged under control, it would be possible to play music.
Then, I asked them to invent and design « a wind instrument of variable whistle type, adapted to be played 1) by blowing the air with the nose, and 2) using the mouth as the variable cavity. »
None of them had never heard of the nose flute existence, and for sure, I didn't show any one to them. They had one hour and a half to produce a front view, a side one and a cross cut. Ouch!
Some of the students didn't perfectly understand the necessary requirements for the instrument to be functional, but most of them succeeded, with more or less "engineering".
Among the best results, it was funny for me "almost to recognize" existing shapes. On the following one (despite the bizarre labium), the student re-invented the Carter's nose hood, but designed a mouth shield rather similar to the Davis' Humanatone (the plastic one). Both parts are linked by a funnel-shape airway. The whole shape is very interesting and quite elegant :
Another one used a "nose hood" and a partial "mouth tube", on which was added outgrowths designed to avoid air leaks. And one also featured a partial tube, plus a long airway made as a handle, like the Cello-phone.
Indeed, I asked the student why he invented a "mouth balloon"... The explanation was that he was feeling as non-hygienic to "blow the nose air to the mouth", so he designed that flexible cavity - "actioned with the tongue" - to contain the "nose air" (great idea!). The soft "nose case" with a rubber circling the head is also a good idea. Maybe the "one nostril work" is not such as functional, but it shows that this student had a real reflexion about how to make such an instrument to work at its best.
Let me tell you I was very impressed by the results, and remember all of that was designed in 90 minutes, by people having never heard of nose flutes!!
One last word: the students' reaction was great when, after they brought their work to me, I took the Bocarina™ out of my pocket and played something... Oh! This bloody thing does exists for real, and it works!