Newhall Library holds “musical instrument petting zoo” for kids and teens

Lyra Chaddick, toddler plays the keys on a electronic keyboard assisted by Marna Onnen, grandmother at the Green Eggs and Jam session hosted by the Newhall Public Library, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. Gilbert Bernal/The Signal

Gone are the days when you would be shushed for making noise in the library. As librarian Liza Purdy puts it, that’s an antiquated stereotype and the Newhall Library is a “full throttle library.”

On Monday, the Old Town Newhall Library was full of music as the library hosted a “musical instrument petting zoo” for children and teens as part of the monthly “Green Eggs and Jam” music program. Local musician Stephen Petree loaned the library a vintage Korg keyboard, an electric guitar and amps; Remo loaned some drums; and Purdy brought in her bass and acoustic guitars for attendees to interact with.

“This is just a chance for the kids to channel their inner rock star and noodle around on the instruments, and there’s nothing more fun than making music with other people,” said Purdy, a children’s librarian at the Newhall Library. “I have seen different ‘petting zoos’ like a technology petting zoo and I wanted to incorporate that here.”

Purdy created “Green Eggs and Jam” in September 2019 due to the benefits that music has on the brain.

“There is nothing better for improving literacy than working with music because it opens up so many channels in your brain,” Purdy said. “I did the research and music really helps with things like vocabulary and language development. Plus music is a great activity that helps keep kids out of trouble.”

Annalee Davis came with her 3-year-old daughter, Lucy, to see the musical petting zoo. Though Lucy tried the keyboard and electric guitar, she particularly enjoyed the drums. 

“The drums were her height, really accessible, and it was fun to see her never having sat behind a drum before understanding what to do very quickly and having the confidence to play them in an unfamiliar setting with new people,” Davis said. “It’s great that the library can have so many diverse opportunities in what used to be just a place for books. As someone with no musical talent or education myself, I’m glad the library has these programs for children because it makes you a more well-rounded person.” 

Ten-year-old David Medrano was particularly drawn to playing with the keyboard because of all the sound effects and “jazzy sounds” it could make. 

“I really like this petting zoo because it’s fun to try out the different instruments,” he said. “It’s important to have music programs because it gives kids a chance to see if music is something they want to try to learn.”

“Green Eggs and Jam” is hosted the first Monday of the month at the Newhall Library.

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