During a Glass Harp Music assembly program, Brien performs music of different styles and periods, playing the glass harp. The program presents musical instruments made from everyday materials, the history of glass and water-tuned music, and related concepts of physics and sound. Participatory segments include an audience member playing a glass in a duet with Brien, and assisting with a string and ‘explorer-cam’ recreation of violin bow friction. Water tuning is demonstrated with water and rice bowls. Vibration is demonstrated using a goblet and a Ping-Pong ball, and a collection of Tibetan singing bowls. Musical saw is also featured, and tied back into sound physics information and demonstration. Another segment of the program introduces Ben Franklin’s invention (and the first American musical instrument), the glass armonica. Questions and song requests are welcome towards the end of the assembly.
My specialty as an artist in education is in showing how our ‘science’ and ‘music’ brains are wired up together. Humans have enjoyed music forever, yet it’s also an exercise in anticipating repetition and patterns of life— part of the work of science. This underscores everything technical I have to share about how sound works, and in showing examples of improvised instruments. I aim for a balanced experience, showing my audience I am connected to the glass harp art form, while making the educational material come alive. It is a source of pride and inspiration for my own continuing education in life, and communication with an audience.