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The Instrument Petting Zoo Visits Brookhaven Learning Center

Stony Brook Music Department Students Perform for Classes

SBU Music Student and BLC Student with SaxaphoneSBU Music Student Performs for BLC StaffBLC Student with GuitarBLC Student on Drums

The Brookhaven Learning Center (BLC) welcomed the Staller Center for the Arts’ Instrument Petting Zoo (IPZ) into their classrooms. The Instrument Petting Zoo is a hands-on workshop where students from Stony Brook University’s Department of Music allow children to see, touch, play with, and listen to, instruments from around the world. This program, which travels around to schools, libraries, and non-profits, helps inspire an appreciation of music and instruments in children.

Four BLC classes participated with the IPZ over two days, and each day, six college students performed for an hour for students. The students were introduced to instruments, many they had never seen before, and played along with rhythm sticks. BLC Teacher Kristina Lomando, who arranged for the two-day event, said that even students who don’t normally participate joined in on the workshop and were very engaged. Students from Kerrie Clark’s, Christine Brustmeyer’s, and Drew Girolamo’s BLC classes also participated. Music helps to improve skills in areas such as communication, social skills, sensory issues, behavior, and cognition.

Created in 2015, the Instrument Petting Zoo is a program that helps the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University reach out to the community and share live, interactive musical experiences. The Staller Center works with Stony Brook’s Department of Music to put together a team of student musicians and train them as instructors to form the IPZ. During the past seven years, the IPZ has reached thousands of children across Long Island. The added benefit of this program is that it gives Stony Brook University music students paid positions where they can practice teaching and interacting with children.

Brookhaven Learning Center is an Eastern Suffolk BOCES school that provides a continuum of services for students with moderate to severe developmental disabilities. Students participate in a modified New York State Curriculum with an emphasis on life skills.