Thursday, May 19, 2011

Making Marimba Music in Mitchell

My first marimba lesson (after an absence of 5 1/2 months) was a challenge -- yet fun as well.

Joy (our leader and principal of a small school south of Mitchell) is a teacher who exudes encouragement and enthusiasm, and as a result, achieves excellent results both with her primary aged children and adult marimba group.

We meet at the Mitchell State School between six and 7 p.m., once every week. Last night's group was smaller than our usual 10 or 12, as some members are away on holidays. Laughter, challenging note sequences and rhythms, and friendly talk make the hour-long lesson pass in a flash.

Marimba music is written in three parts: low, middle and high. Each player has two mallets that are used to strike the timber notes to create a three-part melody with a bouncy rhythm. A drummer and vocalist are added to some of our pieces.

Last year Doug built a marimba for us to play at home, here in Mitchell. He plays low and I play either middle or high, so we can have fun together. But playing in a group is even more enjoyable. Already our group has entertained guests at this year's Mitchell Races, and we have two more engagements coming up, the highlight being at Bonus Downs in October.

So I must practice -- to catch up!

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