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The Instrument Petting Zoo (IPZ) is a collection of instruments that are installed at public and private schools, farmer’s markets, festivals, parks and recreation programs, music camps, and special events with the express purpose of letting people play them: the sign says ‘please touch the instruments!’
Instruments can often be the keys that help open doors to the world of traditional music and dance for children, which is at the heart of what YTV is about. The IPZ is designed to facilitate the discovery of instruments, the music they can make, and the movement that goes with the music.
YTV started by operating a fiddle loan program, a collaboration with the Vermont Folklife Center and the Leslie A. and Harold E. Greene Fiddle Loan Program. After establishing that program, we continued to receive instrument donations, and not just fiddles. With inspiration, coaching and encouragement from Todd Crowley, founder and director of ‘Todd’s Instrument Petting Zoo’, YTV established an IPZ of its own.
The IPZ includes a wide variety of traditional acoustic instruments: mostly stringed instruments like fiddles, ukuleles, guitars, banjos, mandolins, autoharps, cellos, basses, etc. but also drums, kazoos, maracas, recorders, thumb pianos, tin whistles, and more. Many of the instruments come with a story that we share during installations of the IPZ. For example:
‘The three fiddles from the Wrenner family are well-loved student instruments. Their daughter, Rylee, now an accomplished classical violinist as well as fiddler, worked her way through several practice instruments as a little girl. Now that she has moved on to bigger and better instruments these little fiddles are happy to make their home in the petting zoo where other little fiddlers can learn to play them.’
If you would like to book the zoo at your event, have acoustic instruments in playable condition that you would like to donate, or would like to find out about volunteering to help run the zoo please contact Mark Sustic firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Instrument Petting Zoo is supported by the Mockingbird Foundation, installation sponsors and others.