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Instrument Petting Zoos


Volunteer Instrument Donation 

Hands-on fun with instruments! Children have the chance to get up close and personal with the orchestral instruments they see professionally played on stage. Instrument Petting Zoos inhabit Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra Family Concerts, daycare centers, classrooms, festivals and farmers markets around Washtenaw, Livingston, Oakland and Wayne Counties.

It's a fun and educational program, suitable for pre-K through 5th grade, that teaches how vibrations become sound, and sound becomes music.
$50/hour, $100 minimum.

To schedule a visit to your school, contact Sarah Ruddy at 734-994-4801 or sarah@a2so.com.

Supported by the Worthington Family Foundation, the Graef Family Foundation and Shar Violin Shop.

myturn-logoFamilies affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder are invited to join us on January 8, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm for a unique Instrument Petting Zoo opportunity in a less sensory stimulating and crowd-free environment. Register at www.myturncommunity.org



Instrument Petting Zoo Volunteer Opportunities

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo provides hands-on fun with musical instruments! The Instrument Petting Zoo relies on volunteer “zookeepers” to help put real instruments in the hands of kids all over Southeast Michigan. Zookeepers help kids handle the instruments, assist them in making sounds, and offer encouragement.

Instrument Petting Zoos happen in two sorts of environments:

  1. Schools: During the school year, we are busy taking the Petting Zoo to area classrooms where we see kids in groups of about 20 for high-energy, hands-on learning. For each group of kids, we give a 5-minute talk about the instruments then help them try the instruments. We frequently go to preschools and daycares with string instruments to give kids their first taste of classical music. Or to 2nd grade classrooms with instruments from all the instrument families to cap off students’ study of the science of sound.
  2. Festivals, Fairs, Farmers Markets, Family Concerts: These are open-format events where kids (and adults) come and go as they please, trying one instrument or the whole collection.

Volunteers need to be prepared for a high-energy, noisy learning experience. Musical proficiency is not required, but a certain level of comfort with handling musical instruments is helpful. Most important is an encouraging attitude and a desire to work with kids.

Once you are on our list of volunteers, you will be contacted about once a month with a list of upcoming petting zoos. You can volunteer for as few or as many as you like, depending on which times and locations work for you. Please email sarah@a2so.com if you are interested or would like more information.


Donate Your Instrument

Is that old flute or trumpet still sitting in your attic? Put it to good use! The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra is looking for donations of brass and woodwind instruments to use in their Instrument Petting Zoo programs. These programs allow children interested in music to try instruments for free! If you are interested in making a donation, contact Sarah Ruddy at sarah@a2so.com.

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra would like to thank our friends at the SHAR Violin Shop for providing the stringed instruments for our Petting Zoo.