Youth & Family Concerts

In addition to partnering with Des Moines Performing Arts to present an annual Family Concert, the Des Moines Symphony invites Central Iowa fourth and fifth graders to experience the power and beauty of a full symphony orchestra at a specially designed youth concert each year. 

In 2022, we are offering our Youth Concerts in a fully virtual format. Registered Educators and their students will receive an online concert package including lesson plans, instrument demonstrations, a virtual performance and more - completely free of charge. Teachers should register online to receive access to the full concert content. The Virtual Youth Concert will be available February 1-25 and again Mar 1-25, 2022. 

Sensory-Friendly Concerts

Musicians from the Des Moines Symphony present sensory-friendly concerts twice per year in the Temple for Performing Arts.  Sensory-friendly concerts are designed for audiences of all ages and abilities, including individuals on the autism spectrum and those with sensory sensitivities.  These concerts take place in a relaxed concert atmosphere where audience members are welcome to be who they are and enjoy music together with family and friends. 

Instrument Petting Zoos

The Des Moines Symphony Academy offers hands-on experiences for children ages 3 and up at area schools and community libraries through our Instrument Petting Zoos. This fun and interactive introduction to a stringed instrument lasts 45 minutes and is designed for up to 15-20 children to participate at one time. These experiences are offered around the Des Moines Metro.

During the Petting Zoo, children will explore the following:

  • Listening to the difference between stringed instruments
  • Exploring the different parts of the violin & cello
  • Learning about the instrument’s sounds and dynamics

Their hands-on experience will include:

  • Introductory time on the violin & cello
  • Bowing all four strings
  • Holding the violin & cello on their own

For further questions or to schedule an Instrument Petting Zoo at your school or library, please contact Michele Senger, at