By Emma Livingston, Co-editor
Music is the language of the soul.
These words are emblazoned across the entrance of the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM), “The World’s Only Global Instrument Museum” is located, conveniently enough, only 20 minutes down the road from Thunderbird School of Global Management. So, when differing cultural concepts of time are threatening to doom your team project, or if you’re sick of hearing how geopolitical tensions are tearing this world apart, come on down to the Musical Instrument Museum and spend the day enjoying one past time that brings us all together: the creation of music.
The museum, established in 2008, is a beautiful, modern building with 2 levels. The highlight of the museum is the second level, which houses the Geographic Galleries. These galleries display instruments from every region of the world and include audio and video recordings of the instruments being played in a culturally appropriate context. For T-birds who love to travel and enjoy learning about new cultures, MIM is the perfect place to get your culture fix.
“I love the categorization of the musical instruments according to regions,” said Jeeku Saha (MBA ’16, India). “The music that you can hear through the headphones when you go near a particular instrument was the best part of the experience. I have been to MIM twice and I feel that I have to go back multiple times again to fully grasp the idea of the museum.”
Going to the museum “was a truly international experience,” said Jorge Cespedes (MBA ’15, Peru). “The fact that all the instruments are organized by country makes you feel like you’re taking a trip around the world. It was fascinating to see the endless amount of instruments that exist.” The video clips of the instruments being played, “shows the natural way that people around the world interact with the instruments. It represents culture in a very natural way.”
As I meandered through the beautiful galleries, I truly felt like I was traveling around the world. Music gives you an immediate sense of culture like no other art form and my journey through the museum was like a cultural immersion tour throughout the entire world.
A trip to the Musical Instrument Museum is a perfect way to share an important aspect of our cultures with T-bird friends. I went to the museum with classmates from Peru, Afghanistan, and Mauritania. Together, we represented four continents and we were each able to find our country showcased in the museum.
For Abdul Popal (MBA ’16, Afghanistan), his visit to the museum “was a great learning experience.” It was an opportunity to see the differences, but also the similarities in global musical culture. “Music plays a significant role in most cultures around the world,” Abdul said, “and understanding music doesn’t require understanding the language.”
The entrance ticket to MIM is $20 and it’s worth spending the entire day there. The three and a half hours I spent was not nearly enough to fully take in the variety and beauty of human music, this “language of the soul.”