Ep. 81: MIM – A place that showcases music’s unique ability to both preserve diverse cultures AND bring those cultures together; with Katherine Palmer, DMA

Internationally renowned Yellow Bird Productions performs at MIM (Photo courtesy of the Musical Instrument Museum)

February 9, 2021

Music has the unique ability to both preserve diverse cultures AND bring those diverse cultures together. I find that musicians have a highly developed understanding that our shared goal is not uniformity, but unity; and that there is strength in our diversity. The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix is a place that showcases this aspect of music in a powerful way. This jewel is ten years old –established but also fairly young, and not nearly enough people know about it. And, silver lining from covid, the MIM has made some of their incredible programming available virtually.

Katherine Palmer, DMA


Katherine Palmer, the MIM’s Curator of Education, is with me today. I could spend an entire episode just talking about Katherine’s credentials and international adventures. She has a multifaceted musical career as a music educator, arts administrator, and performing musician. She has multiple degrees in music performance and ethnomusicology. Welcome to Enhance Life with Music, Katherine!


  • One of the MIM’s claims to fame is its collection of musical instruments from all countries of the world, and its display of them that creates a cultural education. Katie tell us a about how the MIM uses technology and other factors to bring these instruments to life.
  • The vision of MIM is to create a collection of musical instruments from every country in the world, and to give equal representation to the music and instruments of every country rather than primarily focusing on Western music.
  • STEM education is also woven throughout the MIM experience.
  • “MIM fosters appreciation of the world’s diverse cultures by showing how we innovate, adapt, and learn from each other to create music—the language of the soul.” – MIM website

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In-Episode Promo

If you’re a regular listener of this show, you’ve probably heard me talk about my Rolflex Pro. It played a significant role in healing my repetitive use injuries; and I have continued to use it every day for years, both to prevent injuries – and because it feels so good! The Rolflex Pro is a foam roller tool with clam-shaped arms that provide leverage to adjust the pressure to whatever you like or can tolerate. I use it mainly on my arms and neck/shoulder area; but it can be used on any body part because of how it’s designed. I highly recommend it. As I mentioned, I’ve been using the Rolflex daily for years, and recently signed up as an affiliate; so you can help support the show – at no extra cost to you – by purchasing through this link. The Rolflex is eligible for reimbursement from Flexible Spending Accounts and HSAs; it’s also eligible for medical insurance reimbursement in certain situations. More information is on the Rolflex website. (Visit Ep. 80 show notes for a photo of my Rolflex Pro in my workout area in my basement.)


Katie discusses the transformative power of music and how certain songs can take us to times/places. She explains her favorite example: Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler.”

Closing Words

Thanks so much to Katie for joining us today and for sharing this jewel with us that we have in Phoenix! I encourage you to check out the MIM – definitely in person if you’re in the Phoenix area, and check it out virtually if you’re not in the area; there are lots of ways to have a MIM experience from a distance, including classes and field trips. Here are some pictures from my visit there.

February is Black History Month. Enhance Life with Music  has multiple episodes related to this topic:

  • Ep. 25: Role of music and spirituals within African American culture
  • Ep. 61: The moral, artistic, and economic power of color in classical music, with Afa Dworkin
  • Ep. 47: In honor of George Floyd: The role of music in social justice; with Bruce Henry

While you’re here, I’d love to hear from you! Let me know if you’ve found a place, like the MIM, that especially enhances your life with music.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next week, may your life be enhanced with music.

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