Sunderman students inspire and teach with virtual instrument petting zoo

Teacher educating children about musical instruments at Sunderman Conservatory
Music education major Jasmin Eddy '19 shows students how to use the gangsa, an Indonesian musical instrument used in gamelan ensembles.

In times of crisis, Gettysburgians continue to lead and inspire.

This spring, music education students in the Sunderman Conservatory of Music would have offered an annual instrument petting zoo for K-12 students considering pursuing an instrument. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these aspiring teachers were unable to speak one-on-one with them and give lessons about the structure, history, and musical opportunities of the various instruments.

Therefore, this year, the Sunderman community created a YouTube channel with a plethora of videos to replace the in-person petting zoo. The music educators—including Sunderman Conservatory alumni, current students, and community music educators and performers—provided students with exposure to instruments straight from their homes.

“I felt that there was a need for a virtual instrument petting zoo because students didn’t get to have this experience due to quarantine,” said music education major Lily Zhou ’23, who spearheaded the project. Zhou both edited and uploaded the videos alongside fellow music education major Benjamin Fruchtl ’20.

“I’m extremely proud of the work my peers put into making these videos,” Zhou continued. “I believe that the petting zoo will be beneficial to both kids and adults seeking to pursue an instrument even after the pandemic is over.”

Each student highlighted instruments across all categories—voice, keyboard, percussion, brass, strings, and woodwinds. The channel features more than 20 videos providing three- to five-minute snapshots of musical instruments for music educators and students around the world, which included short lessons on how to play each instrument. The videos are also compiled in the Finding Music Resources website, created by Sunderman students this past spring.

“I really enjoyed filming a video for the musical petting zoo and talking about all the different ways and places you can use your voice,” said Austin Nikirk ’20, a music performance major and creator of the classical voice video. “I hope it encourages students to join their school’s choir or start taking voice lessons, which were both such formative parts of my life growing up.”

An accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music, the Sunderman Conservatory prepares students to achieve. The rigorous curriculum taught by renowned faculty is underscored by opportunities for music education students to perform, student-teach, and serve as members of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association conference.

Learn more about opportunities to inspire in the music education program.

By Phoebe Doscher ’22
Posted: 07/16/20