The York Symphony Orchestra will have an instrument petting zoo after its Saturday Morning Symphony — A Musical Journey Through Time at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.

Menchey Music will have string instruments including the violin, woodwind instruments including flute, brass instruments including trumpet and percussion instruments including the snare drum for kids to try. Members of the orchestra will be in different stations in the lobby to instruct kids.

Lawrence Golan, music director and conductor for the YSO, makes instrument recommendations for children depending on age. For example, you can start a 3 or 4-year-old on piano or violin, but you wouldn't want to give them a trumpet or oboe. When they turn 8 or 9, they can pretty much pick anything.

There are exceptions. Certain instruments take bigger hands, like a cello or string bass. The piccolo, on the other hand, would be best played by someone with small fingers. Also, some instruments need a lot of breath support like a tuba. So, a student would need large lung capacity. Before your kid "pets an instrument," check out these fun facts.

String instruments:

String instruments have a bow. The hair on the bow comes from a horse. Strings originally were made out of sheep or cat gut and some still are, however most are now synthetic.


One of the most popular woodwind instruments is actually not made out of wood. The flute, pictured left, used to be made out of wood 200 years ago, Golan said, when the name woodwind was created. The more modern flute is made out of metal — sometimes silver, sometimes gold. It was probably switched for pitch stability, he said.

The English horn, pictured right, which is the larger version of the oboe, is not actually from England. The phrase is a result of a mistranslation of French terminology "cor anglais," which was supposed to mean angled horn because of its shape.


Similarly, the French horn is not French. The International Horn Society several years ago officially changed the name to horn. Most people still call it the French horn.


Literally anything can be used as a percussion instrument. Certain songs call for playing unusual objects, including airplane break drum, a brake system of an airplane. Anything you can hit, shake or scrape can be used as a percussion instrument.

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