Trying to get everyone in tune with the same vacation plans can sometimes be tough. So instead of everyone marching to the beat of their own drum, take the baton and conduct your vacation like a perfect symphony. Below are some ideas on how to set the tempo and have a musically inspired vacation.
American Banjo Museum - Oklahoma City, OklahomaWhat do you get when you put over 400 banjos in one building? The American Banjo Museum, of course. This museum contains a comprehensive history of the banjo from its early beginnings in the mid 1600's and its evolution throughout the different musical eras. Films, audio recordings, sheet music are just a few of the other banjo memorabilia you will see.
After you've taken the tour you too can try your hand at the banjo. Head over to the learning room grab a banjo and watch a video demonstration of how to play. You never know. You could have a hidden talent you never knew of.
Radio City Stage Door Tour - New York, New YorkThis one should not be overlooked if you have a chance to visit New York. Take a guided tour and learn the history behind this magnificent building. Learn about the builder, interior decorator and the stage man that brought it all together Samuel "Roxy" Rothafel. Experience the 1.8 million cubic feet auditorium, the Grand Foyer, the lounges, and get a rare glimpse of the immaculate Roxy Suite.
On the VIP tour you might even get a peek into the dressing rooms (if no events are in progress), rehearsal hall or the projection booth. Be sure to check the venue as you might be able to catch your favorite band playing at the Radio City Music Hall when you're in town.
America the Beautiful - Tijeras, New MexicoThere you are, top down on the convertible cruising down Route 66 taking in the sights and sounds of America the Beautiful. I do mean literally taking in the sounds of America the Beautiful too. Nope, it's not on the radio. It's not a festival off in the distance. It's you creating the music because you were driving the speed limit.
It's truly a musical road! In 2014 the village of Tijeras worked with the New Mexico Department of Transportation to install the musical road which was funded by the National Geographic Society. The intent was to encourage drivers to slow down and drive the speed limit. So if you're not musically inclined be sure to take the wheel, this is your time to make the music and be a star.
Harmonic Bridge - North Adams MassachusettsAfter finishing your Route 66 trip, head east to Massachusetts where you can find the Harmonic Bridge. This installation was created by artists Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger. Its construction is that of two 16 foot tuning tubes affixed to the north and south bound guardrails of the bridge. Inside each tube and purposefully placed is a microphone at different harmonic levels.
The sound from the traffic is then transmitted to speakers beneath the bridge. The sound emits a humming in the C key. The rhythm is intended to create a calming effect. Vehicles of different sizes and other car sounds like horns and sirens create higher and lower harmonics creating this unique experience.
Touch My Building - Charlotte, North CarolinaPretty sure you might be getting tired of all that driving so head over to the 7th Street Parking Garage in Charlotte, NC. Not only will you be able to park your car but you will also be treated to different musical pieces and installations; stairs that play different harmonics, touchable panels on the building that will produce music and lights.
Created by Christopher Janney, the Touch My Building project was designed to have people interact with their surroundings. The music will also play at regular hourly intervals by itself. Although there is said to be a ghost that will play its own music at random. Take a minute to search out the plaque about the ghost. Solve the riddle and you will be in for quite the treat.
Hank Williams Museum - Montgomery, AlabamaHead over the "Tennessee Border" into Alabama and located in Montgomery is the Hank Williams Museum. The museum was created by Cecil Jackson in 1999 to serve as a memorial museum to a country music legend. Included in the collection are clothing, hats, a horse saddle, programs, song books and sheet music, Hank's 1952 Cadillac and much more.
If you're up for an adventure you can visit Hank Williams childhood home in Georgiana, AL. This site is also now a museum and was where Hank first learned to play the guitar. There is even a retable cabin where Hank Williams spent his last summer. The cabin is now part of the Children's Harbor on Lake Martin in Alexander City, AL.
Polynesian Cultural Center - Laie, HawaiiPlan ahead when traveling to Hawaii and you can have an amazing Polynesian experience. The Polynesian Cultural Center offers evening shows demonstrating traditional Polynesian dance and music. It's a great cultural music experience for both young and old.
Take the experience further by exploring and learning about the island nations and interact in activities with the local villagers like learning to play the ukulele. If all that makes you hungry, stay for the traditional Luau and fill up on some island favorites.
The Singing Oak - New Orleans, LouisianaWhile planted in full site this often overlooked oak tree is a creative musical art installation by artist Jim Hart. The oak tree has been fitted with a set of wind chimes that ring a pentatonic scale. Some of these chimes measure 14 feet in length and are designed to blend in with the trees natural appearance.
The tree is located in City Park and visitors are welcome. Gather the family, grab a blanket and set up the picnic below the oak. Enjoy the relaxing sounds. Even the slightest breeze can produce a magical melody.
Wave Organ - San Francisco, CaliforniaIf you find yourself in the Marina District of San Francisco at high tide you should stop and experience the Wave Organ. The wave Organ is located on a jetty that forms the small boat harbor near the St. Francis Yacht Club. Originally conceived by Peter Richards (Senior Artist at the Exploratorium) and installed in collaboration with George Gonzalez (sculptor and master stone mason) the Wave Organ is a wave-activated acoustic sculpture.
The site consists of 25 organ pipes constructed out of PVC and concrete. The pipes are at various elevations allowing for the rise and fall of the tides. Sound is generated by the waves crashing against the pipe ends and the movement of water in and out of the pipes. The sound is subtle and benches around the installation are available to allow visitors to immerse themselves in this tidal orchestra.
A Sound Garden - Seattle, WashingtonSitting on a hilltop at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) above Lake Washington, is a musical sculpture created by Douglas R. Hellis. The installation is comprised of twelve 21 foot organ-like pipes that make sounds depending upon wind direction and speed. While best on a windy day the pipes can be heard with just a good breeze.
This is the place that Seattle's grunge band Soundgarden derived their name from. As such, a fan made memorial has been made at this location to honor the passing of lead singer Chris Cornell in 2017. Do plan ahead and confirm the site is open when you plan to go see it. It's located on NOAA property so confirm hours and bring your ID to get in.