Museum of Making Music

In 2000 The National Association of Music Merchants opened the Museum of Making Music (MoMM) in Carlsbad with a mission of celebrating and showcasing musical instruments and musical production, and providing opportunities for cultural enrichment while preserving musical heritage through special exhibitions. On permanent display are hundreds of vintage instruments of all makes and models, audio and video stations, interactive areas, and more. The museum stands apart as a unique location where patrons can have hands-on experiences with actual instruments, as well as experience live performances and one-of-a-kind exhibitions.

“The simple act of touching a musical instrument can inspire a life,” says Executive Director Carolyn Grant, “and an inspired life can change the world for the better, for all of us.”

Grant’s philosophy is that there is an instrument out there for everyone. “If given the opportunity to try out a wide variety of instruments,” she says, “one may just find an instrument that resonates with them and that will enhance their life forever. Therefore, we provide a broad variety of instruments with which our visitors can interact and we are committed to inspiring people to express themselves through music making.”

To this end, MoMM offers special outreach programs for students, in an effort to foster early music appreciation. A number of school fieldtrip packages are available, as well as the Title One Fieldtrip program designed to benefit low-income schools with free admission for qualifying classes. The museum also offers its performance space to music teachers as a place to allow students to play for friends and family.

“MoMM gets about 40,000 annual visitors and 6,000 of those are local students,” explains Grant. “We have a museum-school partnership with the Joli Ann Leichtag Elementary School in San Marcos, and work closely with an artist-in-residence there on education programs that serve 850 students weekly. We also have a volunteer program at the museum that welcomes high school students as well as adults. Our ‘Learn To…’ series introduces participants to a variety of instruments and music making.”

The museum’s newest exhibit, Low: The Power and Beauty of Bass, explores the low end of the musical frequency spectrum. The exhibit includes numerous instruments such as a didgeridoo, a sousaphone, and bass banjo, as well as videos, interactive voice activities, and the “Buttkicker,” a bench users sit on to feel the rumble of bass notes. Additionally, the “Buttkicker Concert” features a low frequency audio transducer designed specifically for musician monitoring, used by over 100 of the world’s top musical acts including the Rolling Stones, Shania Twain, and Usher.

Outside of its numerous exhibits, the museum’s live concert series includes Fall Flavors: Holidays Around the World on December 4, featuring multi-lingual vocalist Allison Adams Tucker, and a unique Valentine’s Day event featuring nationally known novelty piano artists, to name a few. (museumofmakingmusic.org)     RYAN THOMAS