Of treadmills and thumb pianos

My friends at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix know I never met a musical instrument I didn’t like. So when they shared news of upcoming events for kids, I got right to work.

I tried hair dye. Wrinkle cream. Time on the treadmill. Even painting on a pair of jeggings. Everything short of Botox or scratching the year of birth off my drivers license like it was a lottery ticket.

But all to no avail. I can’t pass for 12 any more than I can play the Taiko drums. Pity, really, because if I was just a wee bit younger, I’d be able to get my hot little hands on those Taiko drums at the MIM this summer.

I did a bit of drumming during my first tour of the MIM Experience Gallery, where kids of all ages can play all sorts of musical instruments

The “Summer Series for Kids at MIM” kicks off June 4 with “Apache Gourd Rattles, Song and Storytelling” with Tony Duncan and his father Ken, who’ll help kids learn about Apache culture. The event is open to children ages 6-11, who’ll learn how to make their own Apache gourd rattles.

Taiko Drumming” for ages 12-16 takes place June 18. Eileen Morgan will “teach teens about the history of Taiko drums, the significance of Japanese music, and how they can express themselves through music.” Sounds perfect for teens who think music is all about hoarding the most digital downloads.

Kuniko Yamamoto: Japanese Origami and Music” for ages 6-11 is scheduled for June 19. Japanese musician and artist Kunito Yamamoto will “teach kids about Japanese origami and culture” and perform for them on flute and koto. Families can enjoy her concert at the MIM later that afternoon (at additional cost).

This portion of a MIM exhibit always reminds me of time my daughter Lizabeth spent learning and performing flamenco with the School of Ballet Arizona

Flamenco!” with Lena and Chris Burton takes place July 9. A younger group (ages 6-11) will “learn basic flamenco dancing patterns and vocabulary” and teens (ages 12-16) will “learn in-depth about flamenco and visit the MIM galleries to learn about gypsy culture.”

Burton Jacome hails from Mesa, where hometown fans are surely celebrating news of his recent win in the “World” category of “The John Lennon Songwriting Contest” for 2010. The winning work, “Ritmo-Canix,” is on his latest CD, titled “Levanto.”

The Roma exhibit at the MIM helps museum-goers learn more about gypsy culture

The “MIM Summer Series for Kids” wraps up with “Kalimba Magic” with Mark Holdaway, who’ll teach kids ages 6-11 about kalimbas (thumb pianos) and African culture — using the instrument to tell a story and showing kids how to make kid-friendly kalimbas.

My thumbs feel a little neglected at the end of the day since they rarely get quality time with anything other than the space bar on my laptop. I may have to revisit our family collection of thumb pianos. I suspect they’ve been feeling neglected too.

Christopher recognized this thumb piano during his first trip to the MIM because we've got a lovely collection of them at home

Sorry, treadmill. Looks like you’ll have to wait…

— Lynn

Note: Please visit the MIM website for important details and registration information — and check out upcoming offerings in the MIM Music Theater, home to both a “2011 Summer Series” and a “2011-2012 Concert Season” (plus film selections and more). While you’re at the MIM, you can find thumb pianos and other fun fare at the MIM Museum Store.

Coming up: Art meets autism

Photos (except the one she’s in) by Lynn Trimble

One response to “Of treadmills and thumb pianos

  1. Lynn, thank you so much for including me in your beautiful blog. Lena and I had a BLAST at MIM! The audience was incredible and it’s just such a breathtaking museum!

    Thanks for the “Congrats” too. Speaking of Raising Arizona Kids…I kind of feel like my songs are my children, and I’m just so proud of my song for doing so well in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. My little baby, “Ritmo-Canix” is all grown up!!

    Thanks again, Lynn, and Ole!

    Chris B. Jácome

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