Arizona’s crisp Spring weather has a shorter shelf life than milk but its treasures of the air-conditioned variety are some of the best in the country. While we would enjoy laying poolside without the danger of heat stroke or playing catch at the park without passing out, there’s really nothing better than a relaxing summer day at the Musical Instrument Museum. Thankfully, they’ve got you covered this hot season with a line of equally hot (read: celebrated) entertainment. See below for the Museum’s abundant calendar and be sure to bookmark this page for future summer plans.

Rickie Lee Jones: My Life In Words & Music

7:30 p.m. Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1

Once touted as the natural successor to Joni Mitchell, singer-songwriter Rickie Lee Jones proved no less idiosyncratic or mercurial. Like Mitchell, Jones experienced significant commercial success at the outset of her career, but a restless creative spirit—combined with a stubborn refusal to fit comfortably into any one musical niche—sealed her ultimate destiny as that of a highly regarded cult heroine.

Tickets: $42.50-$57.50

I Am AZ Music: Bluegrass/Americana

7 p.m. Tuesday, June 4

Flagstaff-based Bluegrass band Muskellunge and Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest winner Run Boy Run incorporate touches of classical, jazz and folk to create contemporary, original American music.

Tickets: $20

Young Sounds of Arizona

7:30 p.m., Thursday, June 6

Called “the best young talent in the Valley,” Young Sounds of Arizona consists of 40 young jazz musicians aged 14 to 19, chosen annually by audition from Phoenix area schools. The evening will feature a new composition scored and arranged especially for Young Sounds by music teacher and trombonist Ryan Haines.

Tickets: $11.75-$15.25

Spencer Day

7:30 p.m, Friday, June 7

American singer-songwriter and pianist  Spencer Day creates an effortless blend of classic jazz, pop, soul and folk music that has drawn his comparison with everyone from Harry Connick Jr. to Jamie Cullum.

Tickets:  $25.50-$32.50

Bang a Gong: Balinese Gamelan Workshop Series

10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 8

Learn to play a gong—and all the other instruments that make up the sounds of a Balinese gamelan at MIM’s workshop! Led by assistant curator Colin Pearson, these bimonthly workshops include an introduction to Indonesian culture and music and easy lessons to play authentic Balinese instruments. No experience is required, and musicians and non-musicians alike will enjoy this unique musical form, so come join us! Please note that each workshop is an introductory class but participants are welcome to register for more than one session and hone their musical skills. Best for ages 8 and older.

Tickets: $12 per class ($10 per class when purchased with museum admission)

Jerry Douglas

7 p.m. Wednesday, June 12

Internationally recognized as the greatest living Dobro guitar player, Jerry Douglas ranks among the top contemporary artists in American music. Douglas has graced more than 2,000 recordings by artists ranging from James Taylor and Paul Simon to Ray Charles, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris and Phish.

Tickets: $52.50-$62.50

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 15

Celebrating more than 50 years of joyous and uplifting music, Ladysmith Black Mambazo – led by founder Joseph Shabalala – shares the harmonies of their native South African musical traditions and the sounds and sentiments of Christian gospel music.

Tickets: $52.50-$62.50

Beat it! Family Drumming Workshop for Dads and Kids–and Moms, Too!

1:30 – 3 p.m. Sunday, June 16

Catch the rhythm and learn the basics of African, Latin and pop-music hand drumming with master instructor Frank Thompson. After basic instruction, the session will end with a thrilling jam session. All levels are welcome to join in the fun. Bring your own drum or use one of ours. To register, contact Annabel Rimmer at 480-245-6919 or

Tickets: $10 per person (museum admission may be purchased separately)

Sarah Jarosz

7 p.m., Sunday, June 16

Grammy-nominated, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Sarah Jarosz  is hailed by the New York Times as “one of acoustic music’s most promising young talents.”

Tickets: $22.50-$27.50

Iris DeMent

7:30 p.m., Friday, June 21

One of the most celebrated country-folk performers of her day, singer- songwriter Iris DeMent recently released her first album in 16 years and the first recording since her hauntingly beautiful song in the movie, True Grit.

Tickets: $37.50-$42.50


7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 22

Canadian-born of Greek parentage, Pavlo Simtikidis (better known as Pavlo) incorporates the world’s most exotic instruments into his classic Mediterranean sound. Influenced by his travels, Pavlo’s music integrates the Chinese erhu, the Portuguese guitarra, the Arabic flute, the Indian sitar and, of course, the Greek bouzouki.

Tickets: $24.50-$32.50

John Jorgenson’s Gypsy Jazz Quintet

7 p.m., Sunday, June 23

Leader of America’s best gypsy jazz band and MIM artist-in-residence, John Jorgenson plays the MIM Music Theater for an evening of dazzling music in the spirit of Django Reinhardt.

Tickets: $29.50-$37.50

Raul Midón

7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 29

Described by People as an “eclectic adventurist,” singer-songwriter and guitar wizard Raul Midón melds the influences of Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and Bill Withers into a uniquely percussive approach to acoustic steel-string guitar.

Tickets: $25.50-$32.50

Save the Date: Experience France

9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, July 13 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, July 14

Celebrate French music and culture in honor of Bastille Day! Enjoy live music performances and hands-on activities, shop for French merchandise at the Museum Store, and indulge in a French-inspired menu at the MIM Café. Vive la France! This program is sponsored by PetSmart and supported by Alliance Française of Greater Phoenix.

Tickets: Free with museum admission