A Garden of Music: How to Find and Grow Plants to Make Music (Performance in World Music)

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9780941677592: A Garden of Music: How to Find and Grow Plants to Make Music (Performance in World Music)
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A Garden of Music reintroduces the musical instruments of the pioneers, cowboys, and Native people of the U.S. and presents instruments and entertainment from other countries. Most of the open space where we used to be able to gather musical instruments is gone, so we must rely on our own gardens to produce sources of music, entertainment, and games. Like our forebears, we too can return to the fun of stringing a dried gourd as a banjo, saving sand and seed for a rain stick, or hollowing out a fallen log for a drum.

There are explicit instructions for how to make and play a variety of instruments, as well as notes on the source and history of each. Depow also describes ideal growing conditions for the plants and tells where they can be found in the wild. There are chapters on creating three primary types of instruments: percussion (rainsticks, rattles, and drums); strings (plucked and bowed instruments); and "blown" (flutes and whistles). Another chapter focuses on traditional musical instruments as sources of art, including carvings, beadings, and paintings.

A Garden of Music emphasizes three important concepts: 1) the more we know and use plants, the more our excitement grows; 2) music tells a story; and 3) music is alive. This book will be of great interest to musicians, gardeners, historians, teachers, environmentalists, naturalists, artists, and crafts enthusiasts. The in-bound music CD demonstrates the sounds of each instrument and includes some examples of the author's favorite home-grown music "jams."

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About the Author:

Joyce Depow travels the southwest in her 1967 22-foot Travelease trailer. For the last seven years she has been a volunteer for various government agencies writing brochures on the environment, natural resources, history, land, and recreational opportunities.

Ten years ago, Joyce had what pop psychologists might call a mid-life crisis. She herself was working in the psychological field, diagnosing people with substance abuse problems. She quit her job and turned to volunteering and writing. Through the various Visitors Centers where she volunteered, she learned that tourists were extremely interested in how Native people use plants. Visitors were surprised to learn that indigenous people's music came from plants. Sharing the intrigue, Joyce began her own quest for learning and making instruments from living plants. Now both the music and the instruments she makes are alive!

She is currently researching Native and traditional music in Wyoming.


A Garden of Music incorporates a multilevel teaching technique. It incorporates nature, crafts, culture, even mathematics in a musical forum. -- Linda Mandell, California Department of Education, Sonoma, CA

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