Session strikes chord with youth at National Music Museum

Earlier this month, area kids had a chance to become acquainted up-close with the National Music Museum.

Dr. Deborah Check Reeves demonstrates the gamelan for students entering first through third grade during Star Wars!, a four-day educational session at the National Music Museum. (Photo by David Lias)

Incoming first- through sixth-graders took part in the 2012 Summer Discovery Series – Star Wars! – a four-day session that allows them to learn about instruments and the museum itself.

"Number one, my overall goal is that they learn that the museum is a cool place, and that it's a place where they can come and have a good time," said Dr. Deborah Check Reeves, course instructor and curator of education at the museum. "It's a place for them, as well as for adults."

The kids were split into two different groups, the fourth- through sixth-graders, who met June 4-7, and first- through third-graders, who met June 11-14.

The courses were designed to educate the students about instruments using a Star Wars theme.

This theme changes from year to year, Reeves said.

"The first several years we did it, I didn't have an overall theme," she said. "We did mini themes each day, so we did 'curator for a day,' sometimes we did instruments by type, so we would look at all the percussion instruments one day, and another day we would look at all the woodwind instruments.

"About seven or eight years ago we started to have an overall theme. We still kind of look at the same stuff every year, but we kind of gear it toward that theme," she said.

Each group of students had a chance to make their own music, as well.

On the concluding day of the class, the younger students went on the lawn of the museum and learned to play makeshift drums made out of folding chairs and empty water jugs.

On June 7, the older students gave a concert for their parents and other assorted family members.

Reeves said many students return year after year.

"This morning I had two older girls that aged out that have taken it all three years … and they like it so much that they volunteered this summer," she said.

For more information about the National Music Museum, visit

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