What’s your favorite type of music? If you’re like many kids, the urban beats of hip hop get your feet moving and your body grooving.

Have you ever seen performers make all sorts of drum beats and musical rhythms with nothing more than their voices? That’s called beatboxing! It’s a form of vocal percussion using only one’s mouth, lips, tongue and voice.

Beatboxing is a big part of modern hip hop culture. In addition to drum sounds, beatboxing can involve singing, imitating a record player and making sounds like a wide variety of different musical instruments.

Although the modern form of beatboxing got its start in the 1980s, using your voice to imitate percussion sounds has been popular for a long, long time. Historians believe people in India and China developed their own unique versions of vocal art several thousand years ago.

Beatboxing as we know it today — sometimes called human beatboxing — became popular in the early 1980s. Beatboxing pioneers included Doug E. Fresh, who claims to be the first “human beatbox,” Swifty, Buffy and Wise.

In addition to their voices and mouths, some beatboxers use their hands and other parts of their bodies to create an even broader range of sound effects and rhythms. The term beatboxing came from the fact that early beatboxing attempted to imitate the first artificial drum machines, which were called beatboxes at the time.

Today, beatboxing is popular all over the world. Many countries have their own beatboxing organizations that organize national beatboxing championships. There are also worldwide beatboxing championships held internationally each year.

The popularity of beatboxing has also led some people to organize large beatboxing ensembles in an attempt to set a world record. The current Guinness World Record for the largest human beatbox ensemble is 2,081 people set in Dublin, Ireland, on November 14, 2011!

137 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (80 votes, avg. 4.55 out of 5)
    • HOORAY, we are WONDERing with our friends in Ms. Bayko’s class today! We WONDER if you’ll try beatboxing today… perhaps on the playground?
      Tomorrow’s Wonder will have you spreading the news… :)

    • We agree, Zach– great job! We Wonder how long beatboxers and other types of musicians have to practice to memorize their rhythm! Pretty cool stuff!

  1. We thought the beatboxer was awesome. Several of us want to learn how to do this.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder is about cutting an apple into the shape of an eye.

    • Thanks for sharing your super cool comment today, Mrs. Karr’s class! We are THRILLED that you enjoyed our beatboxing Wonder of the Day®! We bet you can learn to beatbox with the help of your Wonder Friends– we hope you keep up the great work!

      We are really excited to travel to a fun, iconic place tomorrow! :)

    • Nice work, Wulf! We bet it takes a lot of practice and courage to beatbox– we think it’s SUPER cool that you know how! WAY TO GO! :)

    • SUPER guessing and WONDERing– there are lots of cool ideas in Mrs. Fulton’s class today! We are excited to Wonder with you all tomorrow– when we use our noggins together! :)

    • Hi there Garrett! Thanks for sharing YOUR talents with us and letting our Wonder Friends see you in action! We bet you have a great time beatboxing– we think you’ve inspired some of our Wonder Friends to try it out for themselves! Have a STELLAR day! :)

    • We are still practicing, but we are not nearly as fast as Garrett in the video! We Wonder if any of our Wonder Friends in Mrs. Foster’s class have tried to beatbox? It’s tough- but it’s really fun! :)

    • You’ve got that right, Garrett! We are so glad you saw Mrs. Foster’s class’ comment– thanks for being a great Wonder Friend! You ROCK (and roll)! :)

  2. We loved today’s beatboxing. We think tomorrow might be about our pupils or a poisonous apple.


    Mrs. Ouverson’s Fourth Grade Class

    • WOHOO, we are so happy to hear that you enjoyed our rockin’ Wonder today! We hope you had as much fun listening to Garrett as we did! :)

      WOW, we love the creativity for tomorrow’s Wonder, too! The students in Mrs. Ouverson’s class are doing a great job of using their imaginations! We are sending you virtual high fives!! Nice work! :)

  3. I liked that video because he was singing with no instruments. ~Lorenzo

    I liked it because he was making “puh puh puh” sounds with his lips. ~Kaimana

    Have a great day Wonderopolis!

    • The COOL KF Dragons are doing a great job of WONDERing today– way to go! Lorenzo and Kaimana, we love your comments about Garrett, the beatboxer! We think Garrett is pretty talented– we Wonder if the AMAZING KF Dragons had any success beatboxing today? We bet you did a great job! :)

  4. Dear Wonderopolis,
    I think that was amazing what that beatboxer can do!! Like I said I’m a part of Mrs. Wall’s class, and she said that in high school she knew someone who knew how to do that but he rapped with it also. You guys are so tricky with your clues.

    I think tomorrow’s wonder will be simply apples. Wait maybe it could be your crush. Thank You for reading, clever wonderopolis.

    • WOHOO, we are SUPER excited to see your comment, Natalie! We loved the beatboxing Wonder and are glad you’ve joined us as we learn about all the cool sounds you can make without instruments! We don’t mean to trick you– sometimes we can be as sly as a fox, though! :)

      Thanks for using your imagination to Wonder with us and share your clever comments, Natalie! See you tomorrow! :)

  5. Hey
    I learned so cool stuff and here is what. That more people can beatbox at a time. And that there is a world recored for 2,081 people in a beat boxing group is in Dublin, Ireland. This group was formed on November 14, 2011. Beatboxing is popular all over the world. I am still wondering how they know that many people and keep track.

    • WOW, you’ve learned a lot about beatboxing today, Jules– nice work! We are glad that you shared your comment with us today– thanks for being a great Wonder Friend! :)

    • WOHOO, we’re so glad the cool students in Mrs. Phillips 2nd grade class are jammin’ with us today! Beatboxing is really cool, just like all of you! We bet Garrett did a lot of practicing to perform as well as he does! :)

    • We think you’ve got a good point, Nicolina! We hope you liked WONDERing with us today and we can’t wait to see you tomorrow! :)

  6. I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about the apple of someone’s eye, meaning something someone really likes. I liked today’s wonder!

    • We like your guess, ALLYCAT! We can’t wait to Wonder with you again tomorrow when we travel to a cool new place using our imaginations! :)

  7. We LOVED learning about beatboxing today! We learned “apple of your eye” means something you really love or like. We wonder what it will be….

    • WOHOO, we are so excited the WONDERful students in Mrs. Coatney’s class are WONDERing with us today! Thanks for joining us as we learned about beatboxing and how much fun it is! We can’t wait to “start spreading the news” with you as we discover tomorrow’s Wonder together! :)

    • Thanks for the comment, Aves, we are glad you enjoyed today’s Wonder! We like jammin’ to the beatbox with great Wonder Friends like you! :)

    • Very cool, Nikiah, we’re glad you found today’s Wonder interesting! How AWESOME that you know how to beatbox– we think you ROCK! :)

    • WOW, very cool, Kobi– thank you for sharing your comment! We bet there are a lot of talented beatboxers, like Genesis! We will have to check it out, Wonder Friend! See you soon! :)

    • Way to go, Dave– you CAN beatbox! We like that you can write what the sounds would be if we were listening– nice work! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :)

  8. Thank you for all the positive feedback!
    And as for the one man band, a lot of Beatboxers use looper stations. Using a looper station lets you record multiple sounds on top of one another. For example: you can record the beat, then on top of that, you record the bass line or melody, then you can add little sound effects and you could also sing if you wanted to. Sorry if this confuses you. I didn’t really know how else to explain it.

    • Hey there Garrett, we really enjoyed learning about beatboxing– thanks for showing us! We are SUPER appreciative that you helped us understand how some beatboxers loop their beats to create different sounds, harmonies and background verses! We hope you have a WONDERful day– our Wonder Friends are so lucky to have you as a great resource! :)

    • We bet you practice a LOT to beatbox like Garrett did in the video– way to go, Wade! We also like your connection to the one man band Wonder! Nice work! :)

    • It’s SUPER cool– we couldn’t agree more, Erin! We hope you have a great time WONDERing about more jammin’ musical talents! :)

    • WOW, that’s SUPER cool, Meaghan! Even if you’re a talented beatboxer, make sure you’re taking care of your throat! We wouldn’t want you to be in pain– that would be a pain! :)

    • It’s pretty incredible to imagine, Boet! We love that you’re WONDERing with us about the speedy train today! We hope you have a SUPER day and we will see you soon! :)

    • What a SUPER idea, Doddy! We think Garrett’s talent is definitely worthy of Hollywood– we a lot of people have seen his beatboxing talents through his YouTube video, too! We love your enthusiasm for beatboxing, thanks for sharing your comment! :)

    • We’re sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy the beatboxing video, Josh! We appreciate your comment and hope you’ll come back to Wonder with us again! :)

  9. How in the name of gravey does he do that?!

    I loved it but I heard him say switch at some part…… I don’t think he should not have said that…….but I guarantee that he will win that contest or championship or whatever.

    But honestly, he is so awesome!!

    • We like your style, Fliss, thank you for commenting on our Wonder! We bet it takes a great deal of practice to learn how to beatbox like that, but also to listen as a judge! We are so glad you joined the fun at Wonderopolis today! :)

  10. Dear Wonderopolis,

    We really loved this post. We thought he had some amazing skills and talent. This is our first post on your site. We can’t wait to get a reply from you. We watch your videos, read about the topic, and then journal about our thoughts and questions. Could you post something about sports, specifically last-minute victories, perhaps the most famous sports finish of all time?

    • HELLO to all our Wonder Friends in Mrs. Lenz’s class! We are THRILLED that you’re WONDERing with us and oh-so-happy that you’ve left a comment for us! That was mighty nice of you! :)

      It makes us smile to hear that you Wonder with us, watch the videos and write about your very important thoughts in your Wonder journals! That sounds like a great way to spend time in Mrs. Lenz’s class– way to go!

      We really appreciate your WONDERful suggestion for a sports Wonder! We have a lot to do in Wonderopolis to get all the information together, but we will certainly take your Wonder nomination! In the meantime, we think you’ll enjoy a few of these Wonders from the past… :)

      Wonder #25– Which Bat is Best? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/which-bat-is-best/
      Wonder #166– Who Invented Basketball? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/who-invented-basketball/
      Wonder #703– Who Jumps the Highest? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/who-jumps-the-highest/

      See you soon, Wonder Friends! :)

    • Hi there Josh, we’re glad you heard someone beatboxing for the first time at Wonderopolis! It’s pretty amazing to imagine someone making all those different sounds on their own! :) Thanks for sharing your comment with us– we appreciate it. :)

    • Hi there Jeff, great question! We can hear Garrett’s voice at the beginning of the video– it’s pretty cool to hear all the different sounds he can create on his own! :)

    • That’s great, Theone11– we bet Garrett really appreciates your comment! We think he’s pretty AWESOME at beatboxing, too! Thanks for sharing your comment today! :)

    • Hi there Josh, we appreciate all our Wonder Friends’ comments! We are glad you stopped by to say hello, and we bet Garrett (the beatboxer) really appreciates your comment, too! :)

  11. Wonderopolis thank you I was sad until I read your comment and Garrett you’re a fast it was a lot of sounds I wish I could beatbox like you.

    • We sure are glad that our beatboxing Wonder cheered you up, Anna! We hope you give beatboxing a try– it could be a lot of fun! :) Have a WONDERful Wednesday, Wonder Friend! :)

    • WOW, that’s pretty cool to hear, Kai! We Wonder if you have ever tried beatboxing on your own? :)

      Thanks for sharing your comments and enthusiasm with us! :)

    • How very cool, Shane! We bet Garrett, from the video, would be proud of all your hard work and practice! We hope you make it to the championship some day, Shane! :)

    • Great question, Bigbob! We’re not sure– but we bet you can do some WONDERing of your own about New Zealand’s best beatbox artists! :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Alex! Wonderopolis is a place to learn, Wonder and smile! All of us here at Wonderopolis enjoy learning new things, so we have a new Wonder each day to share. You can watch the video, read the content and learn cool new things about many different topics! We are so glad you’re here, thanks for stopping by! :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friends Aniyah and Alviana! We’re so glad you’re WONDERing about beatboxing today! We are so glad you enjoyed our Wonder video and article! :)

    • Thanks for sharing your comments, Wonder Friends Terrence, Faith, and LaTavya! We like your enthusiasm for our beatboxing Wonder! Thanks for visiting us at Wonderopolis today! :)

    • Thank you for sharing your comment, and enjoying our beatboxing Wonder, Jet Effects! Good luck to you and your beatboxing adventures! :)

  12. I liked how the guy made all the sounds at the same time. I am wondering how he could do that. Also I want to know if he won the 2012 beatbox championship.

    • Hey there, Wonder Friends Cristian and Luis! Thanks for sharing your comments about the amazing beatboxing video by Garrett! He did a WONDERful job and we are so proud of him! Although he did not win the final championship, he helped us Wonder about his talents and sounds of all kinds! Thanks for visiting us today! :)

    • Thanks, Skye! Do you have any predictions on what tomorrow’s Wonder may be? So glad that you are WONDERing with us today! :)

    • Welcome back to Wonderopolis, Grade 3Z. It is pretty COOL the way they put everything together to beatbox! We hope you stop by Wonderopolis again soon! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Can you beatbox?
  • When did modern beatboxing get started?
  • Why is it called beatboxing?

Wonder Gallery

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Try It Out

It’s time to get serious about beatboxing! With the help of a friend or family member, check out one of more of the following activities:

  • Want to see some beatboxers in action? Jump online to check out 10 Amazing Beatbox Videos To Boom-Bah-Brighten Up Your Day!
  • So can YOU beatbox? Have you ever tried it? If not, now’s the time! Check out How To Beatbox For Kids online. Follow along and you’ll be doing some basic beatboxing in no time.
  • Can you make up your own basic song with a few simple words? We challenge you to make a beatbox song with the words Wonderopolis, badger, beautiful and platypus. Can you do it? If you can, use your technology skills to make a short video of you beatboxing your new song. Post it to the Wonderopolis SchoolTube channel for all your Wonder Friends to see. We can’t wait to hear your song!

Still Wondering

Feel the beat with Shock and his friend as they beatbox letters and sounds in The Electric Company’s Shock Beatbox Duo: -s- video.

Test Your Knowledge

Wonder What’s Next?

If you held up a really tall mirror to tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day, it would look like a big M!

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