Children get hands-on music lesson at museum’s Instrument Petting Zoo

hgoodridge@macon.comMarch 3, 2013 

For the fifth straight year, the Museum of Arts and Sciences was likely the loudest place in Macon on Sunday.

Anyone walking in was hit with a wave of sounds. Aside from the chatter of the nearly 1,000 children and families at the free Instrument Petting Zoo were drums banging, cymbals clanging, horns blowing and strings strumming.

The event, sponsored by the Macon Symphony Orchestra also featured performances from the Macon Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Each portion of the museum was transformed into its own music section, giving children a chance for a hands-on experience with various instruments.

Bob Barnette, a strings player with the MSO, captivated children playing rhythms with his fingers and bow on his 367-year-old Baroque bass.

Even though the instrument is quite expensive, he didn’t mind one bit letting the little fingers pluck away -- under his very close supervision.

“I wouldn’t let them do anything to harm it,” Barnette said. His favorite part of the event is “to watch their face” as the children experience the instrument for the first time.

Six-year-old Scarlett Grush occasionally strums on her father’s guitar at home, but after playing the bass with Barnette, it’s now her favorite. “Because it’s cool,” she said adding that she might start playing the instrument herself one day. “I’d have to practice because I couldn’t keep the beat with my fingers.”

Morgan Crews and Andrew Bennett had the loudest task. The two Mercer University percussionist were stationed with the drums, cymbals and bells. The several sets of drum sticks passed from one little pair of hands to the next like an endless relay race. As each child took possession of the sticks they banged away until their hearts content -- or until mom or dad ended their session to seek a quieter station.

“The kids are excited,” Crews said. “They’re waiting in line for sticks. This is the quietest its been today,” she said as three children hammered away and one pair of sticks lay on the floor.

To contact writer Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382.

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