I just recently watched at YouTube video that a friend of mine shared on Facebook; There was a violinist playing for a small group of parents and toddlers. A little toddler boy hears the first few notes, gets up on his two wobbly feet, and hobbles over right in front of the violin player to get a better listen. He looks straight up at her, and she bends over and plays a few more notes. You can’t see his chubby, little face, but you can imagine that it is full of awe and wonder, as he sits there absolutely still. It is really cute and inspiring, as you get to see the beautiful reaction of this little child to something live and musical. As a music teacher, you’re left wanting to inspire more children like this simply by exposing them to sounds made by real musical instruments.
Of course, since we live in such a unique hub of classical music (think the Victoria Bach Festival coming up in the summer), our Victoria Symphony Orchestra actually does this on a regular basis. Chances are, you or your kids have heard of the Instrument Petting Zoo which is put on throughout the year in various school campuses and community events. Just recently, the Petting Zoo was at Downtown Rhythms, an event that was held at the end of April. We were looking forward to this all year, as my oldest remembers the past two years of Downtown Rhythms, but this year, it was my youngest’s turn to really enjoy the event. He just turned two this year, so we are experiencing everything all over again with fresh eyes. It was he that encountered the Petting Zoo, and just like the little toddler in the video, he didn’t want to leave.
My husband took our oldest to get some snow cones, while my little one was drawn to the instruments. He took me right in front of all the string instruments, and stopped. “Do you want to try an instrument?” I asked. He just shook his head and kept staring. “How about the violin?” I prodded. Still, he shook his head. We stood there for a second, and then I offered to sit on the grass since my feet were getting tired. He sat on my lap and watched. I asked the cellist to play something, which she very kindly did, and my son absolutely loved it. He was completely mesmerized by all the string instruments, and it was such a nice moment to just sit there and enjoy watching the different kids try out brass, percussion, and other ones.
After all of the great music, it was nice to dream about our kids becoming musicians of some sort, either as a career or just for fun. Most of all, it’s really a privilege to have a local symphony that gives our kids a chance through exposure. What kinds of instruments do your children gravitate toward?