A Cacophony of Kids – and Symphonic Sounds – at LBSO’s Instrument Petting Zoo

If you see this van rolling around Long Beach this summer, you might just try following it to one of the local libraries for one of Long Beach Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoos!

We are really enjoying Long Beach Public Library’s FREE events this summer! One new event to us this season is the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra’s (LBSO’s) Instrument Petting Zoo, which we attended last week at the El Dorado Library branch location.

Children’s Librarian Mrs. Tweedt warms up the crowd before the LBSO’s Instrument Petting Zoo at the El Dorado branch in Long Beach (CA).

“Toe Knee Nose” who’s one of the best kids’ librarians in the Long Beach Public Library system: Mrs. Tweedt!

The event kicked off with Children’s Librarian Mrs. Tweedt, whom I have to say is one of the best kids’ librarians that we’ve come in contact with inside of our library system to date. She really knows how to warm up a room of kids and prepare them for the main event to come by reading interactive stories that involve music and movement (think get the sillies out before 15-20 minutes of sitting still and listening). I applaud Mrs. Tweedt and her awesome charisma with kids of all ages, and we definitely will return for a regular story time at this location in the future!

An Ovation! volunteer with Long Beach Symphony Orchestra leads kids through an introduction to the instrument families that compose a typical orchestral make-up during one of their Instrument Petting Zoos.

An Ovation! volunteer demonstrates a violin during one of Long Beach Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoos.

An Ovation! volunteer toots a trombone during a demonstration at one of Long Beach Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoos.

Drums and other percussion instruments were on display and ready for play at Long Beach Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo.

The orchestra family chart breaks it down for the kids at Long Beach Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo.

And now, on with the show! Members from the LBSO’s volunteer organization, Ovation!, led kids through an introduction of the instruments that comprise a formal orchestra set up. A head volunteer broke it down into easy to understand mini-presentations, which showed and explained the different instrument families of the orchestra, which are: Strings; Woodwinds; Brass, Percussion, and the Conductor.

Kids line up to play violin and viola at the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra Instrument Petting Zoo at El Dorado Library.

T’s turn! He gave the viola a try at the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra Instrument Petting Zoo last week at El Dorado Library.

After that, the zoo opened! Several Ovation! volunteers staffed interactive stations open-house style, where kids lined up – in a surprisingly orderly fashion – to view, touch, and play a variety of instruments for about 45 minutes. Don’t worry, RMT’ers, staff made sure to disinfect the instruments (especially the oral ones) between players so as not to create a germ zoo for us to take home as party favors. While the event was crowded, honestly all kids got a chance to touch and play as many of the instruments during the time allotted that they wished to, sometimes twice!

T on trumpet at the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra Instrument Petting Zoo.

T beats to his own drum during the Long Beach Symphony Instrument Petting Zoo at El Dorado Library last week.

LBSO’s Petting Zoo program is a wonderful way to introduce children to musical instruments and the orchestra overall. Kids as young as three years old get a thrill from banging on the drums, and older elementary-aged children can easily try out any instrument they want to play as a hobby should they get a chance to sign up for lessons later. Kids of all ages had ample opportunity to ask questions in the group setting beforehand or one-on-one during the zoo open house about anything music-related, and volunteers were more than happy and eager to answer and chat with the kids. While young kids might not be ready to sit for a two-hour formal symphony concert, they are more than ready for this interactive hour-long program and all that it has to offer.

T really enjoyed the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo. Try to get out to one (or both!) of their last two stops during their library tour this summer!

The next LBSO Instrument Petting Zoo during the Long Beach Public Library summer tour is Tuesday July 17, 4-5pm at Mark Twain Library (that’s tomorrow, RMT’ers)! I know, short notice, sorry about that, but we just discovered this program ourselves! So if you can’t make that, then there’s just one more chance at Cerritos Library (in nearby Cerritos, CA) Wednesday, August 1, 3:30-4:30pm.

Remember to periodically update your kids’ summer reading charts if they’re signed up in your local library’s summer reading program!

Thanks to TOGO’s for donating free kid’s meal coupons to Long Beach Public Library’s summer reading program! I craved TOGO’s while pregnant with T, so this just makes me smile.

And don’t forget that you can do more on your visits to the library than attending these special events! We dropped off a healthy donation of used books, and we stopped off and updated T’s progress on his summer reading program chart during our visit. He’s “read” (meaning been read to) enough so far this summer to earn a free meal at TOGO’s. Encore!

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