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UNCG Hosts Musical Petting Zoo To Educate Children

The sounds coming from a viola, trombone and tuba in LeBauer Park attract a curious seven-year-old named Jane Burke.

She talks to three students from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a few minute later, she’s trying to play the trombone.

“It is very fun to play the trombone and I think I’ll be able to play it really good when I’m older,” she said.

Soon, there’s a swarm of children surrounding the UNCG students. This is exactly what they wanted because they’re hosting a musical petting zoo the first Monday of every month this summer.

The goal of the zoo is to teach children about music through touching or playing an instrument. UNCG music students decided to participate in the zoo after they got an email from The National Association for Musical Education.

Credit Naomi Prioleau / WUNC
UNCG sophomore, Gabe Figuracion helps Jane Burke play the trombone at a recent musical petting zoo. The zoos are the first Monday of the month through the summer. The goal is to educate and inspire children about music.

The organization has collegiate chapters throughout the country and is dedicated to preserving music education in schools.

“A lot of kids, you don’t know what their backgrounds are,” UNCG junior Carley Gerdes said. “They may come a home where they don’t have opportunities like this. This gives them more of a way to see these instruments in public and explore them in ways they wouldn’t be able to at home.”

Beau Burke, Jane’s older brother, has been taking violin lessons for only a few weeks. After playing on Gerdes’ viola, he felt more confident.

“I feel great, I feel like I can go to the next level now,” he said.

That feeling is what Gerdes wants children to feel.

“Ultimately we hope that they would become interested and maybe pick up one day,” she said.

Naomi P. Brown joined WUNC in January 2017.
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