Saturday 20 September 2014

Strumming with Science at the Petrosains Science Festival 2014

It is a common misconception that science is all about complicated theories and intricate experiments. The majority of us forget that science is present in everything we do, see, feel, taste and hear in our everyday life. The 2014 Petrosains Science Festival is here to remind us that science is everywhere.

Music, one of the focal points of the festival, is one of the main themes for this year’s festival. Workshops such as “Box-elele” where you can make your own ukulele out of a shoe box and exciting forums and talks led by renowned guests are a must for music lovers.

Attending the talks and forums led me to discover the scientific side of music. Who knew that singing in the shower involved a significant amount of science? Without your brain instructing your vocal chords to vibrate and generate sound waves that will produce the desired notes, --e.g. a C note, you won’t actually be able to belt out your favourite ballad while shampooing your hair. This is a common fact that is generally known among many of us; sound waves = music. But how many of us truly comprehend the magnitude of its application in our lives? The “Enhancing learning through music neurosciences” talk by Dr. Valerie Ross from UiTM (photo below) explores the usage of music in education and pinpoints the importance of music in our life.

The “Basic Vocal, Learn it from a Soprano” talk hosted by UITM Music Faculty educates the public on the basics of singing such as how to utilise your vocals, how to fix your posture and breathing, phonation, resonation and articulation techniques. With enough vocal practices as demonstrated by the guest speaker, attendees will find themselves singing like Beyonce soon. Attendees also enjoyed a stunning performance by the guest speaker before her talk ended.

The Box-elele workshop is a definitely fun activity for kids and adults alike. Playing a self-made ukulele has an added attraction that comes from the gratification and satisfaction you obtain from the result of your hard work. The workshop provides you with all the tools and materials needed to make your own ukulele from simple household items and some ukulele strings. The workshop is conducted by a Petrosains staff member and aided by other Petrosains volunteers to ensure that visitors have a pleasant experience at the workshop.

The workshop kicks off with a brief introduction on the history of the ukulele which originated from Hawaii, followed by the crafting of the ukulele. Provided with clear and easy instructions in the form of a booklet, it took me nearly an hour to finish my ukulele. I was aided by two friendly Petrosains staff members who did not hesitate to answer all my inquires and to guide me through the steps. I was pleased with the ukulele after it was finished and took it home to show my siblings. They were delighted with it and could not stop strumming the ukulele. They are currently begging my parents to bring them to Petrosains to attend the Box-elele workshop.

After a fun and tiring day at the science festival, I would definitely rate it 10/10 and recommend everyone, regardless of age, to give the festival a visit because the best kind of learning is through fun and play.

“Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.”
Roger von Oech
Contemporary American creativity guru

by Guest Blogger,
Nik Nur Liyana Rahimi (@Liyana_R)
Petrosains Science Scout, Troop 3

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