Kids Learn About Making Music Hands-On at New Interactive Gretsch Family Gallery

March 15, 2015


Innovative exhibit teaches young visitors how to record and write songs, be a performer and more; class and group tours encouraged

Youngsters can record a song, mix a band, learn how hits are written and hear working musicians, band managers and other industry professionals talk about their jobs at the  Dinah and Fred Gretsch Family Gallery at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Located within the Taylor Swift Educational Center — which includes a replica of Swift’s tour bus – the Gallery provides a close-up, top-to-bottom look at the process of creating music that’s geared to youthful learners, using artifacts from the Museum’s collection and such learning tools as a giant guitar, touchscreens and a do-it-yourself studio were young visitors can record and mix tracks.

Student and youth groups interested in visiting the Dinah and Fred Gretsch Family Gallery and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum can call 800-852-6437 for information and group reservations.

The gallery was created through a generous donation by Gretsch Company president Fred Gretsch and his wife Dinah, who is the historic guitar-and-drum builder’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, through the Gretsch Foundation, which funds a plurality of concerts and music education initiatives.

“The museum needed a new and exciting interactive gallery that connects visitors with the creative process – from recording to packaging music,”  says the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s vice president of museum services Carolyn Tate. “The Dinah and Fred Gretsch Gallery is that space, bringing to life the Gretsch’s long-time commitment to music education for the benefit of our over 900,000 annual visitors.”

The seed for the gallery was planted when the Gretsch family became involved in the curation of the Museum’s “Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player” exhibit in 2011. But its conception and construction required two years and input from many sources, including educational experts. It was determined that interactive experiences, contemporary stories and the ability to make things should be at the core of the gallery, which also covers multiple genres.

“An effort was also made to illustrate that there are many ways to be creative within music, beyond being an artist,” says Tate.

The Gretsch Family Gallery’s activities and exhibits — which include historic instruments — are tied together by nine stations with touchscreens where students can learn about songwriting, music business jobs, awards, design, costumes, recording, cross-genre collaborations and more. At one station, working professionals from all aspects of the music business explain their jobs via video presentations. Completing each station’s activities earns a badge. After collecting all nine badges visitors are “Certified Country.”