Rural Residents Connect with Music through Sound Lab


1 Rural Residents Connect With Music Through Sound Lab Pic
Elijah and his mom pick up the sticks at Niverville Winterfest with Kirkwood's encouragement Fiona Robinson

An innovative concept that allows people of all ages to connect with music is touring southern Manitoba. With a lifetime of musical experience as singer, songwriter, karaoke queen, basement jammer, and bandmate, Season Kirkwood of Otterburne knows all too well how challenging it can be to access the musical instruments you crave as a musician. That’s why Kirkwood established Sound Lab Manitoba’s mobile music program.

“Everyone has an innate desire to touch, feel, and experiment with sound,” says Kirkwood.

Much as the name implies, Sound Lab Manitoba is set up as a group of musical stations where people of all ages and levels of musical experience can bang away on a drum set, thrash an electric guitar, pick out a tune on a keyboard, or distort their natural singing abilities with a vocal processor. Kirkwood describes the set up as being “like a gym where you take your turn at each station to get your heartbeat going.”

For those who want to go beyond dabbling, Kirkwood also offers more involved lessons for both voice and instruments.

Ironically, Sound Lab isn’t as noisy as its description may seem. Each station is equipped with a headphone set that allows participants to have a private experience with sound while bystanders hear virtually nothing.

“It’s the quietest music program available,” Kirkwood jokes.

The idea for Sound Lab Manitoba came to her after a visit with her young nephew. “My nephew was over one weekend and we set him up with a whole afternoon of exploration and trying different stuff. We all had so much fun and he was really learning new things.” 

She started looking for other musical connections in rural communities, but realized that with gas prices and limited time, few people had time to coordinate them. In a lightbulb moment, she thought, “Why not get on the road and do it for them? I’m a good roadie and touring musician.”

This early venture is now seeking opportunities. Sound Lab Manitoba is fully equipped to make your next birthday party, holiday party, or corporate event a lasting memory of fun and learning. The invitation is also extended to program directors of rural communities who are seeking a means to bring music to the masses. Sound Lab Manitoba requires space for set up and provides an excellent, flexible complement to existing community activities such as skating, swimming, fitness, or marketplaces. 

If experimenting with new instruments for yourself or your child is intimidating, time-consuming, or feels like a roadblock, Sound Lab Manitoba seeks to make it really easy. Bookings and inquiries can be made through their website (see below).

It’s all about making musical connections possible, especially those of us in rural communities who may not otherwise have big-city opportunities.

For more information
Instagram: @soundlabmanitoba

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