Katie Mosher, 6, gets up close to a musical instrument.
Photo courtesy of: College of Fine Arts
Children try out different instruments at the ACMS Instrument Petting Zoo.
Photo courtesy of: College of Fine Arts
Jul 21, 2010
The Athens Community Music School (ACMS) is making sure that local children have access to music this summer through events such as last weekend’s Instrument Petting Zoo and the upcoming ACMS Summer Fun Week.
Last Saturday, the program hosted its second annual Instrument Petting Zoo at the Athens Public Library. More than 60 area residents attended. Students from the School of Music provided information and demonstrations on 10 instruments ranging from the tuba to violin. After these brief introductions to the instruments, children were given the opportunity to try out each.
The room was soon overtaken with a cacophony of noises rising from the various instruments as children lined up and waited patiently to try each, often returning to their favorite two or three times.
“The kids clearly have an awesome time,” said Beth Braun, director of ACMS. “I’m hoping that they develop an interest in perhaps one day learning to play one of those instruments through their school music program or eventually taking lessons with ACMS.”
Jim Mosher and Christie Truly brought their daughter Katie, 6, whose favorite instrument of the day was the flute because “of the high notes it can play.”
“She’s started to play piano but we’ve never been close to these other instruments before so it’s exciting for her to see the other instruments that make the music that she listens to,” Truly said.
“This is hands-on. Most of the time you go to see a music concert, but you don’t get to touch the instruments so that makes it really cool,” Mosher said.
Six-year-old Hannah Bernstein could not pick a favorite instrument. “They all have different notes and it’s pretty fun to listen to it. [This event] teaches me how to use the instruments. Music gives me different sounds and makes me happy.”
Christine Hitchcock and her family, including Zachary, 5, and Abigail, 3, left their Florida vacation two days early in order to attend the event.
“We came last year and they were just crazy about it,” Hitchcock said. “My son just started piano lessons this summer and she wants to play violin after her experience here last year, so we’re on the waiting list for that.”
Most of the School of Music students assisting with the event are studying to be music teachers and, for many, this is the first time that they have had a chance interact in this way with children.
“I think our School of Music students are always very pleasantly surprised by the experience,” said Braun. “They begin by being a bit apprehensive, and so do the children, but once they get into it, which takes all of about two minutes, the students get very excited about seeing what it’s like to help a kid make their first sound on an instrument.”
Beginning Monday, ACMS kicks off its Summer Fun Week that offers a variety of music classes for children going into grades one through eight.
“It’s our first time doing this kind of event and what I wanted to do is essentially provide a summer day camp kind of experience that’s meant to be a sampling of music opportunities,” Braun said.
Daily sessions include Intro to Piano, World Drumming and Kids Who Like to Sing. The piano class is geared toward children who have expressed interest in piano, but not had any formal lessons. Children will develop foundational skills such as hand position, note names, rhythms and more and provides an opportunity for parents to discover if private piano lessons are right for their child.
In World Drumming, children will experience drumming and other hand percussion sounds and techniques from cultures around the world. Kids Who Like to Sing is exactly as it sounds; a group singing experience for children who like to sing for the pure joy of it.
Classes are offered at multiple times each day. Registration is open through this Friday and forms can be found on the ACMS website or by calling 593-4241.