Kingston Symphony explains the science of music

The Kingston Symphony is hosting an afternoon of enlightenment for children to learn not only the art but the science behind music.

Conductor Evan Mitchell brings the worlds of science and music together for an entertaining and practical show “Major Mitchell Salutes Science,” on Nov. 22.

“There’s a curiosity with every kid about how the world works and how things fit and so what this is us embracing the functional side of music. You can sort of compare it to mad science,” said Evan Mitchell the conductor and host for the show.

Audiences will take a journey with Mitchell’s quirky character “Major Mitchell” to learn about different aspects of the science behind music.

The show begins with an introduction of various instruments and instrument families. Then Major Mitchell will explain the idea of harmony and why certain music sounds sad while certain music sounds happy through “fun exercises” and devices. He will then explore how sound is made and vibrations work through brass instruments.

Mitchell will also discuss concepts like what makes a good melody from a scientific perspective, the relation between music and nature and the studies that prove how music helps children with science, math and developing cognitive abilities.

“We think about how music works: why does this sound nice why doesn’t this sound nice; how the instruments themselves work; how music is put together and what is the reason behind that particular structure. There’s a lot of ‘messy science on stage’,” stated Mitchell.

With a Master’s degree in conducting, Mitchell is in his second season with the Kingston Symphony. He brings this show to audiences for the first time drawing from his own experience and curiosity with science, recalling his favorite times in science class were when he did hands-on experiments.

“There’s a scientific element of discovery for me as well. Some of these things I’ll be trying for the first time. I’m sure it’ll be successful; we’re working hard, but it will be a surprise to me. Sometimes even the greatest scientists had a lot of data to suggest something would happen a certain way but then, even when it does happen and they’re expecting it, it’s still a surprise. So it might have that element for me as well,” said Mitchell.

Since he isn’t just conducting a practiced piece, Mitchell finds his shows for the younger audience are always more challenging and involved.

However, he also believes they are his most important shows.

“I think these are one of the most important types of shows we do because these are the shows that expose children to symphonic music. I feel as though it resonates with a huge, vast, overwhelming majority of them,” noted Mitchell.

Nonetheless, Mitchell promises a show full of surprises and science for the whole family to enjoy.

The show will be held at the Grand Theatre at 2:30 p.m. Adult and senior tickets are $25, student tickets are $15 and tickets for children 12 and under are $10. To purchase tickets for the show visit the Kingston Symphony website.


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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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