Saturday, February 17, 2018

Make a Marimba for your Music Classes!

I've been making marimbas with school kids since 1997 when I saw Jon Madin at the Seattle AOSA conference. He showed us some marimbas he had made with a local school and gave a short demonstration of how they were built. We played a couple of tunes and I was hooked!

My music supervisor back home in Augusta County asked me what I'd like to do the following summer at the music camp we held each summer. Without hesitation, I said, "Let's make some marimbas!" We made 6 marimbas that summer based on Jon Madin's design and I went on to make 3 more for my own music room. 

Since 1998, I've gone on to make many more marimbas with students up and down the East Coast. Just this morning, I've finished up the preparations for two more marimbas (numbers 42 and 43), a Bass and a 3 ½ octave Aussie that are bound for St. Stephen's School in Bradenton, FL. I've got 3 more workshops coming up this spring, one in Indiana, one in Georgia, and one back home in Virginia. 

I can testify to the fun and joyful learning that takes place at these workshops. Kids can get their hands on materials and tools and help make a beautiful new instrument for themselves! We discus how the sounds are made, why tuning is so important, and how resonators amplify the sound of the tonebars without any electronic amplification. 

Try it sometime!

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