Sunday, February 28, 2010

Plastic musical instruments

As you read the title of this entry (or did you skip it and go right to the body, like I often do?) what did you think of? When I hear the phrase "plastic musical instrument" I think of those cheap, translucent recorders you can buy in the music stores. If I think a little bit longer I picture the nicer, Yamaha recorders that many of you played in elementary school (or play now, if you're an early music fan like I am). Then there's the bass that my friend Alex and I were discussing the other day--we decided that it would be really cool to create a bass made of plastic and fill it with water. T'would sound very...interesting. :-D

Did any of you think of LEGO? I certainly wouldn't have imagined those wonderful building blocks which are still in a drawer somewhere in my parents' house. O:-) Now when I think of LEGO, I think of that fabulous "Knights of the Round Table" ditty from Monty Python... But I digress!

I don't even remember how this came up in the conversation but I ended up telling my friend Deb about a cello which someone made out of LEGO. I promised that I'd find the info and share it with her; then it occurred to me that other people might be curious as well. And while looking up the cello I remembered that someone also made a harpsichord out of LEGO--one which actually plays!

So here, for you all to enjoy, are two musical instruments made (almost) entirely out of LEGO.

Cello by Nathan Sawaya, (Also check out Sawaya's Stephen Colbert)
Harpsichord by Henry Lim, (Be sure to listen to the sound clips)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why Music?

I know I've been silent for much too long, but I'm back now! And I have a question for all the musicians out there:

What made you choose music?

Was there a cute boy in band and you joined just so you could sit next to him? Did you hear the girl next door say she liked guitar so you bought one and taught yourself to play? Were you forced to take piano as a child and then discovered it wasn't so bad?

Everyone has a story. You might feel that yours is uninteresting but I'd like to hear it anyway. How about this--I'll tell you my boring story so you won't feel so bad about yours.

I heard music inside the womb. Not in some cosmic, music of the spheres sort of way. My dad loved to sing and my mother was a music professor. My brother and I are both professional musicians and I don't think a single person who knows our family was surprised by our choice!

My first instrument was the piano. I must've been 5 or 6 when I began. I enjoyed it, and I was pretty decent. A few years later I was given an opportunity to play in orchestra (in my county, orchestra began in 5th grade and band began in 6th). My parents went to the orchestra teacher to ask a very important question.

Mom and Dad: If Robyn ever decides to do this for a living, which instrument would be best?
Mrs. Swoope: Viola, because there are too many violinists and cellists in the world.

And there you have it, folks. That's how my relationship with the greatest instrument in the world began! O:-) I've picked up a few more since then, but piano will always be my first love and viola will always be my greatest love.

Now it's your turn!