One of the most vital concepts to the success of the petting zoo is sanitation. With so many sicknesses and diseases spreading, your petting zoo will be shut down if the parents are not convinced that the zoo is being handled in the most sanitary means possible. To that end, Jana recommends that you have the following supplies:
Multiple bottles of hand sanitizer should be placed at every station and all volunteers should wear rubber gloves and either change gloves between each child or put hand sanitizer over the gloves. The most important sections to disinfect are the brass and woodwind sections as the spit lends itself to a higher risk of germs. For the brass instruments and bodies of the woodwind instruments, liberally spray disinfectant spray onto the paper towels and wipe them down gently. You can reuse reeds for the woodwind instruments, however they must be soaked in a concentrate of Sterisol for about twenty minutes before they can be used again. Jana warns the kids prior to the start of the event not to grab anything as they might grab something that has not been disinfected. They must wait until a volunteer hands it to them.
A few weeks ago we had a guest speaker at The Master’s College, Jana Gruss, who introduced us to the concept of an instrumental “petting zoo”. While the idea seems somewhat far fetched, Jana shared how instrumental (pardon the pun) the idea has been in exposing children to music and recruiting them into bands and orchestras throughout the schools. As music leaders, we should be the Pied Piper of music to others, sharing the passion we have for our craft and drawing others to it. I hope to use the next few posts to share this wonderful idea:
The key idea behind the instrumental petting zoo is getting the children to discover the sound they love the most. Are they a blower or a non-blower? Do they like the soft, flute-like sound or the loud, brassy sound?What feels most comfortable to them? There is no right answer to these questions and every child will be different in their preference. It is important not to pressure them toward one instrument or another, but to let them choose an instrument and sound that they can fall in love with and enjoy playing for years to come.
It is important to remember that the main goal of the petting zoo is to expose the children to the various instruments and help them pick the sound and feel that they like best. To that end, it is very important that the kids are able to make decent sounds as quickly as possible. Too many failures will cause them to become easily frustrated. Jana also recommends using silly phrases and terms to describe how to hold or play the instruments. This keeps the event light-hearted and makes it a fun experience for the children. I have included some of these expressions below.