CARLSBAD — The walls will be alive with the sounds of, well whoever’s inside of them.
When the world celebrates Make Music Day Tuesday, the Museum of Making Music will be, appropriately enough, celebrating right along with them by offering several opportunities to make music, including a unique, one-day only exhibit called the Infinity Chamber.
The Infinity Chamber, though, might possibly be one of the most challenging of “instruments” to play. But what makes it challenging is that it requires the “player” to overcome their fears.
“But the beauty of it is, once they do…it takes anything and turns it into something beautiful,” said Dr. Chris Warren, a sound artist and music composition professor at San Diego State University.
Warren will be transforming a regular boardroom on the museum grounds into a “sound odyssey” with the Infinity Chamber — a pitch-black room save for a small pool of blue light emanating from the ceiling. A mounted microphone will capture whatever sounds the user makes and then route them into a laptop where a completely new sound will emerge from speakers surrounding the participant.
Warren said the chamber is exactly what Make Music Day is all about.
“Here is an installation that — it doesn’t make sound, it responds to sound. You have to bring your own sounds to it,” he said.
That also can be one of the challenging aspects of the chamber — getting the older participants to overcome their shyness and open up their voices.
“It really only takes a moment being in there, and realizing, ‘This doesn’t do anything until I activate it,’ and then people start,” he said.
Kids, he added, have no trouble with it, though.
“You make a sound, you make this energy in a space and it gradually dissipates and goes away,” Warren explained of the way sound works in physics. “And I wanted to make a space that obeyed a different physics, that had this sort of wondrous and imaginary physics where maybe sounds return later on… and where a single voice can turn into this rich, lush soundscape.”
The museum will be taking part in Make Music Day for the second year in a row. The event that started in 1982 in France has now become a worldwide event, hosted in 700 cities in 120 countries, according to the Make Music Day website.
Last year, the museum saw about 500 musicians and music lovers come through their doors to take part in the number of activities all about music, explained Carolyn Grant, the museum’s executive director.
The museum will in a sense, serve as the “hub” for Make Music Day in San Diego this year.
“We’re hoping that people will come from far and wide here to celebrate music day,” Grant said.
While the museum celebrates music year round, Tuesday’s Make Music Day will only help to shine a spotlight on the fact that anybody can make music, Grant explained.
“Whether you’re a lifetime music maker or you’ve never touched an instrument in your life, this is an opportunity to get up close with an instrument or just to hear music played right in front of you,” she said.
But for those sounds coming from novice musicians, it could get messy.
And just what is that difference between making noise and making music?
“Noise is not organized,” said Warren. “Music is intentional. Music is meant to convey something. Music has a message,” he said.
Music, he added, is “emotions turned into sound.”
In New York City, the Make Music Day celebration has been taken to soaring levels of participation with more than 1,200 concerts on the streets, sidewalks and parks throughout.
It’s a scene that Grant is hoping will catch on in San Diego at some point.
“I think there’s a lot of music happening in San Diego and there’s a lot of support for it. So let’s come together on Make Music Day and celebrate that,” she said
The museum opens its doors with a “pay what you wish” admission June 21, including extending its hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Some of the activities include mini lessons on the guitar and ukulele with instruments provided, a happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. and the chance to perform on stage with your own instrument. An RSVP is needed to reserve a time slot. Reservations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Instruments can be brought into the Infinity Chamber, too.
Other Make Music Day events scheduled around the county are in San Marcos where the San Diego Music Studio hosts a ukulele circle from 3 to 5 p.m. at Old Cal Coffee, 1020 W. San Marcos Blvd., and at Bertrand’s Music shop at 9906 Carmel Mountain Rd., from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m.