Science of Sound at Birmingham Symphony Hall

By Ruth Perkins

On the 26th of June we are back at the incredible Symphony Hall in Birmingham for our Science of Sound show.

Science of Sound at Birmingham's Symphony Hall

Science of Sound at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. Photo: science made simple (CC-BY-NC)

This upper Key Stage 2 show is a brilliant way to discover the world class acoustics of the building. We look at the science behind what sound is, how it’s made and heard, and how we turn it into music.

If you want a chance to experience the full effect of the custom built organ that has 6000 pipes, and hear the beautiful voice of our Mezzo Soprano, then you are in luck! There are some tickets left for the performance.

To get your tickets visit

Audience at Science of Sound show

Eager audience for the Science of Sound show. Photo: science made simple © all rights reserved

Our Science of Sound show presenter Ruth would love to see you there:

“Birmingham’s Symphony hall has to be the best venue I’ve had the pleasure to work in, and I have been lucky enough to work in lots of different venues around the world. There is something about the place that gives me shivers as I walk onto the stage. Maybe that’s because I’m thinking about all the brilliant performers that have been on that stage before me, or maybe it’s the shear scale of the place, or maybe it is down to the incredible way sound bounces around the whole hall and beyond.

I am soo excited to be going back again on the 26th of June after the success of the show earlier this year, in March. Some of the schools arrived early so while they were waiting we had a chance to try out a giant experiment. Just by using our hands in different ways the audience and I created the sounds of thunderstorm, which is something I’ve always wanted to try and I’m hoping we get a chance again in June!

It’s very hard for me to pin point what I love the most about this show. So here are a few of my favourite things…

  •  We’ve always had brilliantly keen audiences and I love their reactions as they get involved the experiments.
  • I get to demonstrate a variety of sounds using some of my collection of strange instruments, including my didgeridoo and the giant mooing bucket!
  • Hearing our biggest prop of all – the organ that has 6000 pipes. I think I’ll always be amazed by the range it has!
  • The sound of our mezzo soprano singing from inside the huge reverberation chambers that we can’t see, but surround the outside of the hall.
  • That the science we are exploring isn’t just fascinating, but you can use it to make your own music.

The education team from the symphony hall have put together a wonderful team for the show. On stage with me is Alex Jones the organ scholar. He has an in depth knowledge of the awe-inspiring sounds that the organ can make. Some of the biggest pipes produce a sound that you can hardly hear, but you can definitely feel. Also on stage is Urszula Bock. She is an amazingly talented mezzo soprano. We use her beautiful voice to explore how much the design of the hall allows us to change the clarity of music. From sounding like you are in a tiny quiet room to the sound of a huge cathedral, by moving parts of the building.

So please, if you can, come along to the show – listen, feel, experiment and enjoy sound with us!”

Symphony Hall Ruth

Ruth at Symphony Hall. Photo: science made simple © all rights reserved


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