Instrument Petting Zoo Invites Kids to Get Hands-On with Music

After banging drums, pounding on xylophone keys, and shaking a set of maracas, Luke locked his eyes on the colorful rainbow of metallic instruments that he immediately recognized. “I love the bells!” Luke, 4, exclaimed on Tuesday during a session of the Huntsville Symphony’s “Instrument Petting Zoo” at the Huntsville Public Library. About two dozen youngsters attended the event, at which the symphony offered a variety of instruments for children to try.

“It’s become really popular,” HSO Education Director Sharon Hicks said. “Music is a pure form of expression, and we think it’s a great idea for kids to explore and expand on that concept. When they’re first able to do something like make a sound on a violin, they just light up with joy.”


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Studies have shown that developing brains benefit from learning to play a musical instrument. In November, results of a study by the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California showed that music training can change the structure of a brain’s white matter, which carries signals through the brain, and gray matter, which contains most of the neurons responsible for decision-making.

Hicks said Instrument Petting Zoos are among several youth-oriented programs offered by the symphony, whose stated mission is “enriching lives through the power of music.” That includes the lives of children, she said.


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The HSO will host its Instrument Petting Zoo at the following upcoming venues:
Aug. 10: 6:00 PM – Downtown Huntsville’s Movies in the Park
Aug. 24: 6:00 PM – Downtown Huntsville’s Movies in the Park
Nov. 17: 10:00 AM – Hays Nature Preserve’s Fallen Leaf Fest


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The HSO will host its Music Explorers Club at the following upcoming venues:
Sept. 22: 10:15 AM – Monrovia Public Library
Oct. 20: 10:15 AM – Downtown Huntsville Public Library
Jan. 19: 10:15 AM – Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, VBC
Feb. 2: 10:15 AM – Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, VBC
Feb. 16: 10:15 AM – Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, VBC
March 9: 10:15 AM – First Baptist Church of Huntsville, Library
May 4: 10:15 AM – Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, VBC

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