If you’re ever in Phoenix for more than a day, you might want to check out the Musical Instrument Museum. I heard about it last Christmas and have been dying to go. Thankfully, my husband and I were able to sneak away from the kids.
The building is a beautiful brick structure up the street from the Mayo Clinic. After the promenade, you enter the lobby. There are classrooms and auditoriums on the left but you pay for your entrance to the right. Once paid you receive a set of headphones and a receiver.
You see as you stand in front of each exhibit, the music that the instruments play. Sometimes, the music scrolls through four or more songs. Other times it’s just one. The upstairs part divides music by continent. And as I scrolled through from Africa to Europe, I was amazed at the complexity of the instruments. But I also was kind of sad at how the heartbeat of the drums and the whistle of wind was quickly lost.
It also removed music from the hands of ordinary people, as if the rich and powerful had the right to control our hearts and minds. Of course that would never happen, despite the attempts by the elite, people kept their own music and so the divide had begun. Thankfully, places like MIM make all music accessible to everyone.
By the time we made it through the top floor, we were a bit overloaded by musical stimulation. Fortunately, there was a cafe downstairs where we could talk about what we’d heard and seen. After a quick bite to eat, we moved to the downstairs exhibit featuring items from many famous musicians as well as a selection of their hits. There was also a collection of wind-up toys that was simply fascinating.
I can’t to go again and see the new exhibits they were adding. This time we’re going in reverse order.