Philharmonic musicians demonstrate the science of sounds

sosborne@herald-leader.comJuly 15, 2014 


    LexPhil Music Builds Science!

    What: Interactive presentation with musicians from the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra at Lexington Public Library locations.

    Remaining sessions:

    2 p.m. Wed., Tates Creek Branch, 3628 Walden Dr.

    2 p.m. Thurs., Eagle Creek Branch, 101 N. Eagle Creek Dr.

    Admission: Free

    Learn more:,

Boisterous laughter and a cacophony of sounds reverberated from inside the theater at Lexington Public Library's Central Branch Tuesday afternoon, as children were challenged to take on the role of musical detective.

The Lexington Philharmonic is presenting its Music Builds Science! interactive program at six different Lexington Public Library locations this week, letting students explore how sound is created and travels.

Cellist Clyde Beavers was on hand to help demonstrate.

"They're quick, they're smart, they're interactive," Beavers said of the students. "They ask lots of interesting questions, which keeps you on your toes. It's a joy to work them and see their excitement with music and see their development as a young child."

Philharmonic education and operations associate manager Jason Spencer led the group of children throughout the interactive portion of the program, asking them to identify what animal noises Beavers was mimicking with his cello. Spencer went on tell the story of the Tortoise and the Swans, which was accompanied with a variety of corresponding sounds from Beavers.

Spencer explained that the strings on a cello must be struck by a bow to create vibrations, which result in sound. He went on to explain, and Beavers demonstrated, that the sound produced can be manipulated by the amount of force exerted and the angle the strings are struck from.

Spencer also demonstrated a lesson in pitch by filling wine glasses with water, dipping his finger in the water and slowly running his finger around the rim.

The children learned that the pitch of the note goes up as the amount of water in the glass decreases.

Zorya Whittle, 11, said "all the effects and sounds," of the show proved to be her favorite part.

Following the presentation, children were invited to the stage to participate in the instrument petting zoo, getting the chance to play a variety instruments, from maracas to trumpets to Beavers' own cello.

"Getting able to play with the instruments was really cool," Sam Dukes, 10, said.

Meanwhile, Dukes' sister Hannah, 7, enjoyed the giant slinky used to demonstrate how sounds come from the result of vibrations.

Spencer said he has been pleased with turnout throughout the week, and with nearly 100 children and parents, Tuesday's Central Library presentation had the largest attendance yet. He said he hoped the event can spark an interest or at least expose young children to music and science at a young age.

"We wanted to get them involved, and interaction was the biggest thing," he said. "If they can come away with an appreciation for how science relates to music, that was our goal."

Spencer said interacting with children throughout the week has been a positive experience.

"I had one parent come up to me afterwards and say 'my daughter was just tickled to death that you chose her to come up to stage'," Spencer said. "The fact that I maybe made that child's day is something that I'll take away."

Sam Osborne: (859) 231-3308. Twitter: @samo430.

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