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  • › Jon Madin: The man behind the Marimbas


    The inventor Jon Madin has sparked a "marimba mania" in schools with his instruments made from everyday materials.

    Trained as a high school teacher, Madin has run over 2,000 workshops at primary schools making marimbas and a range of other original and fascinating instruments.

    The Central Victorian harp-maker Andy Rigby introduced Madin to the art of marimba construction in 1990, reawakening his "passion for making things."

    Traditional marimbas can be difficult and expensive to build. Madin "needed an instrument more suited to my school teaching rather than an African band version." Adapting designs from Rigby and the Orff Schulwerk Association, Madin designed marimbas that a school community could build using PVC piping and timber while being robust enough to be played simultaneously by three people.

    One school to catch Madin's "marimba mania" was Bicheno Primary School, which built a set of marimbas based on Madin's designs with the help of the school's groundskeeper, Doug Renshaw. ABC Classic FM explored the school's music program as part of the Don't Stop the Music initiative.

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