Break out your euphoniums, dulcimers, mellophones and hurdy-gurdys because it's that time of the year again. It's Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day, you know, that holiday that's only a holiday because someone named "Monkeyboy290" created a website. (PS—you're gonna wanna turn down your volume before you click on that.) But now, thanks to the viral nature of the Internet we can all celebrate this little known non-holiday! Obviously, Step 1 is looking up what those instruments we mentioned above even are. Step 2 is to get out there and make some noise. Don't just tell people about your love of the xaphoon, go out there and play one!
University of Maryland has its own collection of rare and early instruments, including the very fun-to-say hurdy-gurdy, which, FYI, is a favored instrument of Arcade Fire. Open to both students and the public, this is your chance to party like its 1699. Visit the website here.
If you're looking to get into the hammered dulcimer, email DC native Jody Marshall. No prior experience is necessary, she'll teach you the ways of this bizarre stringed instrument for $60 an hour in her McLean studio. Go on, play that funky music...
Finally, if you're just looking to purchase or rent some wacky instruments for your inevitable Uncommon Instruments House Party, check out Takoma Park's House of Musical Traditions (7010 Westmoreland Ave., Takoma Park, Md.), where you can find a gazillion different kinds of flute-like instruments, as well as our personal favorite, the Bowed Psaltery. The less sure we are of how to pronounce it, the more we want to play it.