MoogLab Residency at Claxton Elementary

Week long MoogLab residency culminates in performance with theremins, synths and poetry

In late March, the Bob Moog Foundation collaborated with other local organizations to bring a week long MoogLab residency to Claxton Elementary School in Asheville, NC. We spent the week teaching the physics of sound and electronic music history with three fifth-grade classes.

TAPAS teaching artist and Bob Moog Foundation volunteer David Hamilton lead the fifth graders through the interactive MoogLab science and music-based curriculum while including elements of the history of electronic music. Vibrations, sound waves, pitch, amplitude and timbre were all explored using the theremin and and oscilloscope. The students learned the importance of Bob Moog’s work, as well as learning about pioneering efforts of Leon Theremin.

BMF RockStar Volunteer Dave Hamilton Teaching Science through Music


Claxton’s music teacher, Brooks Butler, spearheaded the effort to bring MoogLab to the Claxton Elementary. He joined Dave in guiding the students to create simple compositions and improvisations using the theremins and synthesizers. He also asked the students compose lyrics and poetry to communicate what they learned.


On Thursday of the residency, the Bob Moog Foundation featured its MoogLab Interactive Setup of theremins, synthesizers, oscilloscopes, and more for students to gain hands-on experience and reinforce their learning. With the support of a grant from the Asheville City Schools Foundation and their Parent and Teacher Organization, Claxton acquired an Etherwave theremin and Little Phatty synthesizer from Moog Music, Inc. With these instruments in the school’s collection, Brooks will be able to teach the concepts of sound and electronic music and create electronic music with his students using them for years to come.


BMF Rock Star Volunteer Jenna Bryner showing Claxton student how to play the theremin



The kids took turns in the MoogLab and with Dave and Brooks, working on songs to be presented to the school at the end of the week. On Friday, the students had an opportunity to present their work to Claxton’s student body. The performances were very well received as each class took the stage with Brooks and Dave lending a guiding hand. The kids were joined on stage by local thereminst Chris Tanfield.


Two Claxton 5th Graders jamming on the Theremin and the Voyager. Note: It was “crazy hat day” at Claxton.



The week long residency was a huge success. Here at the Foundation we got rave reviews from students, teachers and parents. We had one parent stop us in the parking lot to tell us that she’d never seen her child so excited about learning. That is the power of MoogLab.