Saturday, July 18, 2009

Instrument Land

Kira has recently become obsessed with musical instruments. You can read more about this in "Kira's Current Obsession." Today happened to present me with the perfect opportunity to take Kira to the music store. After a bit of research, I decided to take her to Sam Ash Music Stores based on how close they were to my house.

Marisa went off to Grandma Shari's house for a while today, so I took Kira to do a bit of learning. She was very excited to be going to "Instrument Land." (That was her description - not mine.)

When we walked into Sam Ash Music Store, we met Steven - the sales manager. I explained to him that Kira is home schooled and suddenly very interested in learning about music instruments. I explained to him that we came to the store to explore the instruments - not to buy them. He was so wonderful and told us that each area was staffed with a specialist who would be more than willing to help us with any questions we may have. He also said that we were welcome to pull any instrument down and play with it. Even knowing that I had no plans to purchase anything, he was very helpful and very welcoming.

Steven walked us over to the violins and introduced me to Samantha. Then he pulled down a Kira-sized violin and bow for us to explore. Kira sat on a little stool and Steven showed her how to hold the violin and bow, then how to pull the bow across the strings to make the sound. Kira had a great deal of fun "playing" the violin for a few minutes. Steven wandered off to help other customers while Samantha continued to help us with our adventures. Kira also played a Cello and a Bass while we were in the string instruments. Samantha discussed the differences between each instrument and their sounds with Kira until Kira became restless and wanted to move on to something else --- THE DRUMS!

We made a short visit to the drums, then Kira changed her mind and wanted to see the trumpets and saxophones. The gentlemen in that area was so sweet and helpful. I didn't get his name, though. He told me, but I seriously failed to listen. Anyways, he pulled down a couple of different trumpets for us to hold and explore. Then he talked to us about the other horns hanging on the wall. He pulled a flute out for us to play with. I sat down on the floor with Kira to show her how to blow on a flute to make sound. We both failed pretty miserably with that endeavor. I know HOW to do it, but it's been so many years since I've used that skill that my ability to make the sound was almost completely gone. Finally, he pulled out a harmonica and used an air 'thing' to make sounds through the harmonica.

We did return to the drums after our venture into the horns. The guy over there handed me a set of sticks and set us up with the electric drums and headset. How cool is that!!! Now, kids can play drums to their little heart's content and Moms don't actually have to HEAR the noise. I am so THERE with this concept.

Kira sat and played the drums for a good five minutes before she was ready to move on. Of course, I had to have a go at this new concept of electric drums, too. We returned the sticks to the counter and thanked the guy for letting us play, then we moved on to the guitar room. Jim, the guitar expert, was absolutely amazing. He helped us play with the guitar. Then he pulled down a ukulele to play with. The ukulele is actually a pretty good size for little hands to play with. He also pulled out a banjo for us. Banjos are HEAVY. By heavy, I mean that I could barely hold the thing. Oh. My. Gosh. I had NO idea.

Before we left the guitar room, Jim gifted Kira with her very own guitar pick. He even told her if she happens to lose her pick that she can come see him any time she wants and he'll give her a new pick.

After all of that, we wandered back over to the horns where I bought Kira a very inexpensive harmonica. Since we left Instrument Land she has been practicing with her new harmonica. She has learned how to blow softly to make soft sounds and to blow harder to make louder sounds. Needless to say - she LOVES making those really LOUD sounds.

She also figured out pretty quickly that she could make sound while blowing air out as well as while sucking air in. (Hey Mom. I don't even have to stop to breath. --- SIGH!!!)

My plans for a field trip to the instrument store proved to be a great idea. The staff was so helpful. Kira had fun. Hey - I even bought something.

Of course, the real lesson here is that when I do need to make any big purchases for instruments - now I know where to go. If they're this great when you tell them you aren't going to buy anything the moment you walk in the door - think how wonderful they will be when you walk in to make a major purchase...

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Treehouse Dwellers said...

What an awesome journey of learning for both of you! Isn't it awesome when the 'experts' are so willing to share their knowledge, support and encourage - no strings attached.

What was Kira's favourite instrument by the end of the day? Which instrument will she still be talking about in a week?


Mom said...


Kira really liked the Bass. She played the violin, the Cello and the Bass and really enjoyed the fact that the Bass was so much bigger than her.

We came home with the harmonica, so it will be interesting to see how long her attention lasts with that.

I'm not real sure what she'll still be keyed in on within a week. Her attention span for any given topic can last from one day to one year (and counting --- Her fire obsession started about a year ago and is still going.)