From interactive museums to books and online courses, there is a world of sound and music waiting for children to explore. Mini P. shortlists four excellent music learning resources for children to get started
Indian Music Experience Museum
The Indian Music Experience Museum, Bengaluru is a unique institution that offers children and adults an immersive experience into the history and culture of Indian music. An initiative of the non-profit Indian Music Experience Trust, supported by the Brigade Group, the objective of the museum is to “increase understanding and appreciation of the diversity of Indian music, from the traditional to the contemporary through exhibits, performances and learning activities”.
Spread over 50,000 sq. ft, it displays music exhibits and also hosts live performance spaces. For instance the ‘Living Traditions’ exhibit takes visitors through the origins and evolution of different genres of classical vocal music — sruti, raga, tala, gharana, dhrupad, khayal, and kutcheri. The museum also hosts a sound garden with musical installations to enable visitors to explore the distinct sound, material and vibration of a wide variety of musical instruments. A popular installation is the Flower Gong, which plays the ‘flower of sound’ — tap each petal with a mallet to hear different sounds.
Musedlab @ NYU
Imagine playing music from your QWERTY computer keyboard? Yes, you read that right. The Music Experience Design Lab of New York University, USA offers a suite of tools designed to enable novices to interact with their favourite music in a playful mode. The lab has partnered with the NY Philharmonic and mapped the QWERTY keyboard to play as a natural musical instrument with any mode or tonal center. The aQWERTYon (QWERTY accordion) is designed to simplify the process for improvising and learning, and composing music with the computer keyboard. To learn and play log on to https://musedlab.org/aqwertyon
The Knowledge: Mind-blowing Music by Michael Cox
Publisher: Scholastic | Price: Rs.499
Specially written for children, this well-presented and informative book introduces them to core concepts of Western classical and contemporary music, with special focus on pop. Tune into a variety of musical landmark events ranging from the birth of the Blues to the invention of sound-recording machines. Take the chance to becoming acquainted with mind-boggling musical instruments and read about a tragedy that sparked the biggest musical explosion ever. The book also includes interesting titbits about music legends such as Mozart, Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
Master on Masters by Amjad Ali Khan
Publisher: Penguin | Price: Rs.499
Veteran musician and sarod maestro, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, writes a deeply personal book about the lives and times of some of the greatest icons of Indian classical music — Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Amir Khan, Begum Akhtar, Alla Rakha, Kesarbai Kerkar, Kumar Gandharva, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Bhimsen Joshi, Bismillah Khan, and Ravi Shankar. He recalls anecdotes and details their individual music composition and rendition styles. Twelve eminent musicians of the 20th century are included in this tome that transcends the Gharana and north-south divide and presents endearing biographies of great music geniuses