This is the third post in a mini series regarding the concept of an instrumental petting zoo. In previous posts, I discussed the concept of the petting zoo as well as how to select and find instruments.
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.
This need for cleanliness brings up a key point: Volunteers are vital to the success of the Instrumental Petting Zoo. It is a good idea to have the volunteers who are familiar with an instrument stationed at that section and ready to help the kids learn how to play the instrument. The goal is to help them play a sound or series of sounds and get an idea of how the instrument feels so that they can walk away with a sense of accomplishment. You can also use parent volunteers or others who cannot play an instrument to help with crowd control and disinfecting the instruments. Make sure you write out clear instructions for them prior to the event so that they can immediately jump in and help the day of. This will allow you to focus on the kids and making sure the event runs smoothly. Jana did mention that she always stations herself at the woodwind section as they are the hardest to disinfect and she wants to be responsible for the safety of the children.
In the final post, I will be sharing a few of Jana’s tips and tricks when it comes to teaching the kids how to play the instruments.