This Old Guitar, #955


Me and my family at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ

I experienced the most amazing and wonderful birthday treat yesterday.  My family and I went to the Musical Instrument Museum up in Phoenix on my special day despite some warnings that it may not be a place for children. Oh, wrong, wrong, wrong, naysayers!!!!  Those warnings came without taking in consideration that we are a musical family, and music makes up a huge part of our souls!


I was apprehensive about bringing my energetic 7-year-old and 9-year-old, but before we left for the day, I had a Twitter conversation with the museum.  “Any advice for bringing kids?” I asked.  The response was good solid wisdom from the experts:

” Give ’em what they want! Experience Gallery 1st. Feed ’em (café 11-2, coffee shop always).  Artist Gallery for Taylor Swift, the Olympic Drum & more. The octobasse. All the guitars. US/Canada. Hear the Apollonia organ.  If they have favorite headphones, they can bring them (but we provide them, too, if you’d prefer). Hope you have a blast!”

This museum gets an A+ in customer service!  And!!! — it gets an A++++++ in content, too!  It’s like someone reached inside my brain and asked me exactly what I’d want to see at a museum.  It is a museum 100% catered to music lovers!

The Experience Room, per the museum’s suggestion was our first stop.  I’m not sure who had more fun playing drums, gongs, harps, guitars, bells, etc….me or my kids!

My daughter playing a slit drum from the Congo

My daughter playing a slit drum from the Congo

My son banging a gong

My son banging a gong

Our next stop actually made me emotional.  We headed to the Artist’s Gallery, and the sites in that room left me positively breathless.

Here’s the piano John Lennon wrote “Imagine” on….


Andy Summer’s musical notation for “Every Breath You Take”…


Leonard Bernstein’s baton, vest and tie…


And this little gem actually brought tears to my eyes….John Denver’s mandolin guitar — proof positive that music is deeply instilled into my being and moves me like nothing else can…


Throughout this whole experience, you walk around the museum with headphones.  As you approach TV screens, music plays allowing you to actually listen to the instrument you are viewing.

The upstairs galleries take you country by country with instruments indigenous to cultures from all parts of the world.  It is amazing to see and hear instruments that you never even knew existed.  I am certain that ethnomusicologists must come from far and wide to take in what this museum has to offer.  I was in absolute awe with what was before me!

Here are a few examples of instruments from different countries…

Pyeonjong Bells from South Korea

Pyeonjong Bells from South Korea

Lion of Judah Drum from Jamaica

Lion of Judah Drum from Jamaica




Janis Joplin’s guitar that she used to record “Me and Bobby McGee” – from the North America room

Hip Hop in North America

Hip Hop in North America

What a perfect way to spend a birthday!  I know that this is a museum that we will go back to again someday and bring all of our out-of-town visitors to.  It is simply extraordinary and is completely worth the trip!

My song of the day was the one I heard at the museum that brought me to tears.  This is John Denver’s  song “This Old Guitar,” which really is so representative of how important an instrument can be.  What really struck me at the Musical Instrument Museum is that it doesn’t matter how wealthy or poor a country is…universally, we all value music.  No matter our means…music takes a lot of stock in cultures, because it truly is “the language of our souls.”


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