Moon Ha

composer / performer / researcher

re:toy

December 11, 2023

Since the last posting, there have been many updates. The most significant update is that there are now several partners who would like to support this project. This is really exciting, and I cannot wait to see how this project will evolve with their involvement. The new partners include:

-New York University’s MakerSpace at Tandon Engineering School
-New York University’s Music Department, College of Arts and Science
-MakeInspires


September 1, 2023

+Yamaha PSS-30

When I was a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005, I had a chance to go to a garage sale. It was the first time ever because there was no such garage sale in Seoul. I remember it was quite interesting, and I bought a few items, including a Yamaha PSS-30 for a few bucks. It wasn’t broken, but it was missing the battery cover. It was obvious the keyboard was used by a Korean kid because the label on each key was solfege in Korean. At that moment, I was not sure what I could do with it, but I purchased it as it looked quite fun. Occasionally, I took it from my drawer and played it for just a few seconds, and that was it. Since my kids were born, they sometimes played with it, and last year they spilled juice on it. I haven’t played it since, so it could be corroded inside and may not be working anymore. The most intriguing fact is that this keyboard has not been thrown away even after several big moves. So, it has been the kind of thing I keep but don’t really use.

Blue Man Group Electronic Percussion Tubes Toy Instrument
+Blue Man Group Electronic Percussion Tubes Toy Instrument

Yesterday, on November 18, 2023, I saw a posting on the Facebook group called ‘Buy Nothing Mamaroneck & Larchmont,’ where I currently live. It was very interesting as it said, ‘Blue Man Group Electronic Percussion Tubes Toy Instrument Drums.’ I contacted the poster, Ken, and decided to pick it up. Then, I realized this acquisition process seemed kind of similar to my Yamaha PSS-30. I actually don’t have any plans to use it, but I got it because it is a toy musical instrument that looks fun. I don’t think there’s any harm in doing so, but I started to think about it as I’ve now acquired two toy musical instruments that don’t contribute much to my actual music—yet.

Last night, I remembered there were a few more toys that I own, and they were more like ‘toy’ toys compared to the Yamaha keyboard and Blueman percussion. They were toys for my kids when they were even younger, and my kids (actually, my wife) abandoned them. So, I acquired them and kept them in MISE-EN_PLACE secretly because I thought they looked ‘fun.’ Suddenly, I realized that there was a pattern, and it applied to all the fun-looking musical toys I acquired over the years. It is not a real collection kind of thing at all, but somehow, now I have several abused/broken/used musical toys, and I am thinking about what to do with them.

re:toy

Recycling these toys will be fun, and if they can be a part of my music projects, that would be more fun and meaningful. Their repurposing will align exactly with what my current research—music and sustainability—is aiming toward. There are a few aspects that can be considered:

  • Clean up and enhance the appearance.
  • Fix any broken parts.
  • Improve the original parts.
  • Extend the functionality.

Before physically touching and manipulating them, it is necessary to evaluate what they were aimed for and capable of, and to what extent each toy can be expanded. In the next step, I plan to evaluate the Yamaha PSS-30 and see what I can do.

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