Visit the Rhythm! Discovery Center in Indianapolis

The Interactive Area at the Rhythm! Discovery Center in Indianapolis offers aspiring percussionists the opportunity to try out a range of fascinating instruments from around the world, including the Indian tabla, African talking drum, ocean drum, and hundreds of other percussion instruments. Moreover, the Virtual Environment Technology in the two Wenger sound Booths let visitors hear what it would be like to play various instruments, such as a steel drum, crash cymbals, xylophone and full drumset, in different venues, including a stadium, cathedral or concert hall.

Exhibits at the center are designed to educate and entertain through hands-on experience. In the Time Tunnel, visitors can learn about the three main sound properties of percussion – metal, wood and skin – and feel the vibration of sound when striking the impressive gong drum, or playing the metal gong. The exhibit entitled Instrument Origins: Wood, Skin, Metal takes visitors on a journey through the evolution of percussion instruments, and illustrates the power of sound with the Rhythm! Drum Wall. Ten interactive portals let visitors experience how different mallets and hand positions are used to create different sounds on various instruments.

Stage to Screen reveals the role percussion has had, and continues to have, in the development of stage and screen, from the various sound effects used on radio, stage and screen to the famous Wurlitzer theater organ from the New York Paramount Theater. Visitors also get the opportunity to play at being a session percussionist with a performance of the theme song from The Simpsons.

In addition to the permanent displays at the Rhythm! Discovery Center, there are temporary displays on specific themes from time to time. Recent displays have included an archive entitled Evolution of the Field Drum, detailing the role that the distinctive snare drum has played in military bands. The archive includes a Ludwig & Ludwig 1920’s field drum and a 2004 Yamaha SFZ marching snare, along with many other examples.

The Mission Statement of the center notes that Rhythm! Discovery Center is dedicated to advancing the understanding of percussion and its role in world cultures through interactive education experiences.” And anyone who has enjoyed a tour through this interesting facility will agree that its mission is being accomplished.