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Bubble wrap snaps are music to these students’ ears

Veronica Volk
From left, Meredith Conklin and Elizabeth Humphrey play a drum called a timpani that is covered in a sheet of bubble wrap.

On National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, percussionists at Nazareth College celebrated by — you can probably see this coming — making music with the addictive material.

The air pockets made a satisfying snap as they were popped with mallets and cymbals, on top of drums and marimbas.

Kristen Shiner McGuire led the class. She’s the coordinator of percussion studies and program manager for music business at Nazareth, and when she learned that bubble wrap had its very own day, she jumped at the chance to encourage her students to experiment with it.

“I’m always up for interesting and innovative things to do,” she said.

Shiner McGuire said this class experiments with all kinds of objects in their music, like Altoids tins and coffee cans.

But there’s a serious side to this lesson.

Meredith Conklin is a music therapy major.

“Percussionists and music therapists alike both need to be able to use the resources around them and whatever they may have available to them to serve the therapeutic purpose,” she said. “So I think bubble wrap is a nice resource we could integrate in music therapy and percussion.”

Whether it’s helping a nonverbal child express themselves, or helping a hospice patient relieve stress, these students are learning how they might create meaningful music therapy experiences for future clients.

And in the meantime, it’s pretty fun.

Veronica Volk is a senior editor and producer for WXXI News.