Let the kids play your theremin!

Posted: 3/29/2008 12:19:59 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Last weekend all of my in-laws came avisiting to our apt. in NYC.

By far the biggest hit was showing them the theremin and letting the two teenagers try it out.

This is the fourth or fifth time I've gotten to see kids and teenagers encounter it for the very first time. It's just great to see what they do, how fearless and free they are with it and how really happy an encounter it is for them. Hopefully it sticks in all of them to help keep awareness of the Theremin growing and you never know, it could be a seed for a new thereminist in the years to come.

It's always encouraging to read from other members here when they do school and youth programs.

Audience building and aether awareness with the young is an investment in all our futures.

Posted: 3/29/2008 11:59:20 PM

From: Connecticut

Joined: 10/10/2007

As a senior in electronics at a technical high school I've shown the theremin to all of the freshman who picked electronics as their trade, they were confused and it was hard getting the first few to try it but they found it to be amazing. I've also shown it to my family and friends, it's odd how a lot of people react to the theremin by simultaneously moving both hands in circles outward from the center of their body as if they were trying to feel the fields.
Posted: 3/30/2008 5:34:00 AM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

"(...) as if they were trying to feel the fields"

Ah, you do not feel them??? :-)))
Posted: 3/30/2008 5:53:47 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Interesting Zsy, I some times give a little guidance or hold the hands of really young ones to get them started. That's great you're showing it to lots of people!

The variations in responses across all ages is fascinating. At another encounter, in one pre-teen a musical knack was definitely revealing itself and he had a recognizable melody pattern coming out after a couple minutes. His family had not yet seen any musical inclinations and they renewed some exposures to it for him and he's since added music and drawing to what was an all sports activity list after school.

In informal presentations or workshops, it's the older teens and adults who seem more likely to react with fear and visibly stiffen up, but often those with experience in music or movement arts like dance start realizing their conscious intents very quickly. Sometimes they sway and move and gesture more abstractly to see what happens and you can notice the sound start to affect their movements.

That first encounter is a special thing to witness.

Posted: 3/30/2008 8:10:54 AM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

Funny... my kids are exactly the reason I don't have a theremin sitting out anymore :) When I found my son trying to hang from the volume antenna on my Ethervox, I knew it was time to put it in storage for a while. When they're a little older, I think I'll re-introduce them to it.

I've been wanting to take a theremin to their preschool for some time. I think the class would get a huge kick out of it.
Posted: 3/31/2008 3:06:07 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Oh yeah you have to protect it!
That's why I said let kid's play your theremin
let kids play with your theremin unattended.

It's a pity though, wish you had a room you could set it up but keep the door locked when you're not playing. At least growing up with you they know what it is.
Posted: 6/1/2009 9:24:00 PM

From: Altadena, CA

Joined: 6/1/2009

The theremin is perfect for the preschooler.

What they can do is move their body. What they don't have is the breath control or manual dexterity needed to control most pitched instruments. It's a welcome change from all the percussion instruments that the toddlers can play.

I've kept mine out in the music room and my now 7-year-old son has had access to it since he could learn to turn it on. I've enjoyed listening to his "concerts". Kodaly for voice, Toch for instrumental ensemble, Theremin for sheer sonic joy!

Posted: 6/1/2009 11:58:45 PM

From: Asheville, NC

Joined: 1/25/2008

My son loves the theremin. It is the worst instrument to try to play if you have kids though. Two year olds don't understand any kind of six foot rule. It leads to great frustration :)
Posted: 6/2/2009 1:01:54 AM

From: Altadena, CA

Joined: 6/1/2009

Yikes, I meant Orff, not Toch.

I agree that one must practice when the kids are away or asleep!

But what a great way to show kids the idea of "personal space" and how you can affect things without touching them.

| __*Ken*-o
Posted: 6/4/2009 12:45:16 PM

From: Chillicothe, Ohio USA

Joined: 1/29/2009

At more informal gigs I always leave the instrument on, turn down the volume on my amp!, and let people try it out. I remember my first post-performance theremin testing very well! It is a great means of world thereminization, and it can be done tastefully. I always make shy people who look passionate come up and try it when everyone else has left the room :)

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