|

RPS instrument petting zoo to build on momentum in music programs

Rockford Public Schools’ instrument petting zoo will go on as scheduled Wednesday through Friday at Riverfront Museum Park. (The first two days were cancelled because of weather-related school closings. They will be rescheduled.)

The zoo is for fifth graders; it is designed to let them touch, listen and play with instruments. The Register Star’s Corina Curry did a great job describing the event, in which 2,000 students are expected to pass through the doors of the museum park. They will see how a bow feels in their hand. They will hear what happens when they blow through a trumpet.

A student tries out an instrument at last year's instrument petting zoo at Riverfront Museum Park. Fine Arts Director LuAnn Widergren is in the background.

A student tries out an instrument at last year’s instrument petting zoo at Riverfront Museum Park. Fine Arts Director LuAnn Widergren is in the background.

The event is for fifth graders because that’s when students sign up for middle school music classes. Enrollment in middle school band has more than doubled since the 2011-12 school year. Middle school orchestra enrollment is projected to grow by nearly ten times what it was three years ago.

LuAnn Widergren, Fine Arts Director for the district, has been committed to building the program. Research has shown that students who learn music have more academic success, but it’s about more than that for Widergren. She believes in providing learning experiences in the arts to build lifelong skills and appreciation.

In other words, you don’t need to be Wynton Marsalis to try the trumpet. But you will likely have a deeper appreciation for his music having learned the instrument.

Curious about what the petting zoo is all about? Check out this video from last year’s event. (Full disclosure: The video was done by my daughter, Sally Leaf, who donated her time.)

It is not too late to volunteer. You need to be familiar with instruments, but the work is not technical. Students get a brief lesson on how to hold and play the instruments, which are provided. So is hand sanitizer. Contact Emily Tropp, project coordinator, at emily.tropp@rps205.com or 815-966-8960.

Mary Kaull is communications coordinator for the Rockford School District. She never played an instrument and really regrets it.

 

 

 

 

.

Share:

Leave a Reply