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The Sonic Connection

In the beginning there was sound… the sound of your heart, the sound of the street, the sound of the rhythms that drive your feet. In our kids drum classes we will explore the world through sound and redefine how we interact with our environment through music.

While our primary goal is always to keep music fun and relevant to kids, its not our only goal. In these classes kids will develop their own unique connection to music, by identifying sounds and experimenting with music. Because it is one thing to learn how to play an instrument, but that’s not enough to establish a life-long relationship with music. Many parents have told us that they took lessons as kids, but never enjoyed it or for some reason lost interest. We believe there has to be a meaningful and personal connection to music making in order for it to last. So what better way to establish this personal connection than through sounds that are already familiar, and sounds that kids identify with.

From the first class we will establish a connection and awareness of sound. By listening to samples of sonic environments from around the world, kids will start to open their ears and learn to identify what they hear. In establishing this ‘earwareness’, we are planting the seed of curiosity and creativity. Just like a poet and her vocabulary of words, the more sounds a young musician can hear and identify, the more options they have to express themselves.

For early beginners, it is often challenging to play music for more than a few minutes of time, as their muscles are still developing and often the repetition of learning can be creatively stifling. So we have modeled our classes after science labs, rather than just a instructional music class.

In our sonic lab, we will experiment with a new property of music each day, i.e. dynamics, tempo, and silence. Through specific games and class projects, kids will learn about the basic elements of music, how these elements are found in different sonic environments, and test these elements by playing music together through a variety of found percussion instruments.

Found percussion instruments or ‘found objects’ are objects that have been repurposed as musical instruments, such as bucket drums, trash can lids, coke bottles, pots and pans. Found objects are perfect instruments for beginners because often new students don’t have access to instruments. By playing found objects, we challenge kids to look at their environment from a different perspective and to creatively come up with ways of making music outside of class. In addition, percussion instruments are all about striking the instrument to produce sound. This technique is relatively easy compared with other instruments, making it accessible for beginners and easier to learn the basic elements of music.

We hope that you can join our classes this spring, beginning May 1st. For more info about registration, please visit http://playmusicnyc.org/classes. If you have any questions, please contact program director Zaneta Sykes at zaneta (at) playmusicnyc.org.