By Sally Miskavige, Grand Forks Children’s Museum Board Member
Ever met someone who has that special and unique spark of creativity…has that ’all in’ mentality and is always ready to bring both expertise and really creative ideas? For me, that person is Mrs. Robin of the Airoso Music Academy. I first met Mrs. Robin when my children were very young, infants actually. She holds music classes for children from birth through school age. ‘Any age, any stage’ is the slogan at Airoso.
Research shows that music helps the young brain develop by forming unique connections. Per John Hopkins Medicine, “Music is structural, mathematical, and architectural. It’s based on relationships between one note and the next. You may not be aware of it, but your brain has to do a lot of computing to make sense of it.” Music is universal and brings both mental acuity as well as enjoyment.
After moving through the infant and toddler music classes my daughter was encouraged to start piano lessons at age three. After some hesitancy, it turned out to be one of our best decisions. Learning the notes, along with learning letters and counting, all worked together to help develop her young mind. My son has started on the same musical journey.
When we were envisioning the Grand Forks Children’s Museum, one thing that has always resonated with me was how great our local resources are in our Grand Forks community and the surrounding areas. We wanted to involve key, creative people. We started setting up meetings with anyone we could think of that had something to offer. One of those people was Mrs. Robin. Dean Opp and I met with her and instantly she said, ‘how can I help’, ‘I want to be involved’, and ‘I am serious about this’. I love the ‘all in’ mentality.
Mrs. Robin was initially placed onto the fundraising committee, which at the time was our only functioning group. Truthfully, she has just been OUTSTANDING. She is truly that unique spark of creativity. At the first fundraiser Mrs. Robin had the most beautiful labels and food created. We had never seen anything like it. Obviously, this fundraiser was very successful.
At our first Full STEAM Ahead event, Mrs. Robin offered to help with a station. I didn’t really know what to expect, but she created the most amazing brain teasers, activities for babies, and tongue drums for a soothing noise station. This station was very popular and truthfully the creativity was exhilarating! When asked ‘who made the items?’ -as clearly, they were professionally constructed. Mrs. Robin said she did! As it turns out, Mrs. Robin was a construction major in college!
For this year’s Full STEAM Ahead event Mrs. Robin is planning more great exhibits: including tornados, magnets, mazes, brain teasers, and a special station with ukeleles.
One of the most anticipated stations at this year’s event is ‘Music Land. This unique station will create an opportunity for participants to experience the joy of music through their own self-discovery. This is a unique opportunity to learn to play an instrument, under the trained guidance of a professional.
One of the goals is to create the magical spark of musical interest in a simple, fun, and non-judgmental environment. Mrs. Robin has chosen an instrument, a ukelele, and song that will create a simplified means of both learning a musical instrument and playing a song. While there is a learning curve, each participant will learn in their own way and at their own pace. This exhibit is structured to create a successful conclusion, while instilling individual pride. By exposing children to music at an early age, the ‘Music Land’ station hopes to spark interest in music education and further a child’s music exploration.
On behalf of the entire Grand Forks Children’s Museum Board of Directors, our volunteers, and donors, Thank You, Mrs. Robin for all you do to support this project, to bring your unique creativity to this project as well as our entire Grand Forks community. You are truly a local treasure.