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OCU Hosts Instrumental Petting Zoo
They’re not exactly animals, but musicians would argue that their musical instruments are living things. Children in the metro area might be asking their parents for a different kind of pet after the April 27 Instrumental Petting Zoos and children’s concerts at Oklahoma City University’s Wanda L. Bass School of Music. Matthew Mailman, professor of conducting, said he hopes children will be inspired to become virtuosos after they get a chance to see how instruments work. “We wanted to inspire young musicians to begin instrumental studies by playing music for them and introducing them to instruments,” Mailman said. “It’s a fun way to try them out, hear what they sound like and see how trained musicians play them.” Students from area elementary and middle schools were invited to the event, which begins with concerts and demonstrations in an auditorium. The children are then led to the Bass Music Center atrium to get a closer look at the instruments with members of the OCU Wind Philharmonic available to help and answer questions. Mailman said the university has held concerts for school children for nine years. The music school added more interaction with the Instrumental Petting Zoo as a way to further encourage them to work on their musical skills. “Judging by how much fun they have, I think we are succeeding. Teachers have told us that our concerts and petting zoos are well-organized, and many of their students can’t wait to begin instrumental studies. Our attendance has grown every year,” he said. The music school is anticipating approximately 650 students for this year’s event. Mailman added that the Instrument Petting Zoo is also a learning experience for his students. “It's a wonderful thing for our Bass School students in the Wind Philharmonic to have interaction with potential young musicians who represent our future. Being able to give musical inspiration to them is a rare opportunity that we are able to provide for our Bass School students. The educational value of the children's concerts is not just for the younger kids."