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Review: Sound Maze @ The Esplanade

· review,kid-friendly,kids entertainment,family fun,things to do in sg

Enter an immersive and interactive sonic and visual world of sound, featuring over a dozen newly invented musical instruments and sound sculptures! Unleash your inner musician in this engaging experience suitable for all ages. Suitable for all ages but best for ages 4 and above.​

The above was the description of Sound Maze at the Esplanade which took place from 25 - 27 May 2018. I have to admit that the concept of Sound Maze was indeed interesting. It was also fun for the children to be able to get their hands on the gigantic musical instruments largely made of wood. Some instruments were rather complex, while some were simple yet very interesting. However, I thought the execution of the event was done rather poorly, with the organizers failing to imagine how things would turn out when the audience was made up of mostly families with young children. With tickets priced at $12 each with special concessions for PIP's Club members, it is no wonder many parents brought their young children along. The prices are very affordable for a show at the Esplanade. 

sound maze poster

It was stated that there would be a 20-minute demonstration before the audience gets to try out the musical instruments themselves for about an hour. As you can see from the poster, I was given the impression that the stated demonstration would be like a mini performance with a group of musicians playing music with those gigantic wooden musical instruments. However, the demonstration was only carried out by Mr. Paul Dresher, one of the two creators of Sound Maze. After showing the audience how to use the first musical instrument, everybody became rowdy and rushed to the next instrument. The young children were a great challenge to control and all the adults were shoving forward to get a glimpse of the demonstration. It was rather frustrating because if you didn't manage to stand right in front, you could hardly see anything. The demonstration lasted for over 20 minutes and it didn't take long before the young children became restless and distracted. Yet the staff didn't allow the children to start playing other instruments because the demonstration was going on. When it was finally time for everyone to get their hands on the instruments, what do you think happened? Is was more like Noisy Maze than Sound Maze. Imagine over 50 adults and children trying out different musical instruments in an enclosed room at the same time. It was absolutely chaotic.

pendulum-like musical instrument at sound maze at the esplanade

This musical instrument works like a pendulum. Each wooden box holds a ball and is attached to a thin metal stick. When you push the box, it swings back and forth and creates 'tick-tock-tick-tock' sounds.

percussion musical instrument at sound maze at the esplanade

My boys trying out percussion instruments. Some of them are actually overturned metal bowls.

giant wooden xylophone musical instrument at sound maze at the esplanade

A huge fence-like structure that functions like a gigantic wooden xylophone.

percussion musical instrument at sound maze at the esplanade

My 5yo trying out another set of wooden percussion instrument.

giant stringed wooden musical instrument at sound maze at the esplanade

Mr Paul Dresher demonstrating how the stringed instrument works.

huge metal hoop as musical instrument at sound maze at the esplanade

This is actually my favorite because I think the idea is absolutely ingenious! This involves spinning a huge metal hoop on a specially constructed wooden platform that is slightly sloped towards the centre so that the metal hoop doesn't spin out of the platform. Sound is created when the spinning metal hoop loses kinetic energy and starts hitting the wooden platform as is slows down. Unlike all conventional instruments which create sounds that get softer and softer unless further action is taken, this particular instrument starts silently when the hoop is spunand the sound gets louder and louder and comes to a sudden stop. A very simple concept, yet extremely fascinating to me.

rotating drum musical instrument at sound maze at the esplanade

This is huge drum allows you to put balls in, and when you spin the drum, some balls roll out of the drum through a small hole. Sound is created when balls roll around in the drum as well as when the balls roll out of the drum and land on a row of metal pipes producing pleasant chimes.

giant wooden musical instrument at sound maze at the esplanade
glow in the dark strings for flip side exhibit at the esplanade

There is an ongoing 10-day festival called 'Flip Side' at the Esplanade. There were huge woven structures outdoors and it was a colourful sight at dusk. The structures are intricately woven and their patterns are a display of art and science combined.

trying out weaving

My boys weaving the neon threads on the huge board.

neon woven  structures for flip side exhibit at the esplanade

Large woven structures overhead as if a spider spun its perfectly symmetrical web above us.

neon woven  structures for flip side exhibit at the esplanade
neon woven  structures for flip side exhibit at the esplanade
neon woven  structures for flip side exhibit at the esplanade

Flip Side is ongoing until 3 June 2018. Find out more festival details here.

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