An integral component of each Toy Symphony performance is a series of week-long workshops in which children are introduced to musical thinking and composing, and are engaged in different levels of involvement in the project. This series of workshops, while providing for general education and enjoyment for the local community, is essentially tied to the final performance: this is where elements of the Toy Symphony concert are composed and rehearsed.

The pedagogical philosophy at the core of Toy Symphony, which is carried out through these workshops, builds on the work of influential educators who believe that learning is an active process by which people build or construct understanding by interaction with objects and situations in their environment. With Toy Symphony, there is an emphasis on a child's direct interaction with musical material and the incorporation of his/her innate musical perceptions as part of the learning process.

Workshops are designed to give children hands-on experience with Music Toys and serve as an introduction to musical thinking and composing. They are organized so children are engaged in different levels of involvement in Toy Symphony, as follows:


The opening event for Toy Symphony is an important tool for generating interest and enthusiasm from program participants and the larger community. This is a one-time public event held about one week prior to the final concert. It allows the general public to meet the Toy Symphony team, try Music Toys and hear bits of Toy Symphony music. It's also an important way to generate buzz within the local community for the events to follow.


This workshop is designed to allow a large number of children to experience the many aspects of Toy Symphony and to create a complete composition within each session. The workshop centers around several HyperScore stations, supplemented with other Music Toys, which children can use to create their own music or manipulate pre-composed music according to each toy's individual design. The group is introduced to HyperScore and the creation of musical motives, lines and structures. Through the toys children can see how music is made and imagine how different gestures can be turned into sound. With the help of music instructors and the MIT team, children will create their own piece of music in a new and meaningful way.


A series of intensive four-day workshops will be offered based on each of the pieces for the final concert program. A different group of children will be selected for each workshop, and all will take part in rehearsing and performing for the Toy Symphony concert.