KIDS AT CONCERTS?
…in a word, YES!…In fact we encourage you to bring children to concerts!
Children are the next generation of listeners and supporters. Creating opportunities for young people to hear live Orchestral Music is part of who we are and what we do and exposing children to live Orchestral Music is one of our primary mandates. We have discounts for student tickets (just $10 at the door) and anyone under 16 gets in FOR FREE to our ticketed concerts (other than our special Education Concerts which are just $5 per person). If you’d like some help deciding which concert might be right for your child, please contact us!
Peter and the Wolf Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Stravinsky, Pulcinella Suite a 1998 video with Seiji Ozawa (The music starts about 3’40” into the video).
One of the Mozart German dances in a nice recording by Tafelmusik (No. 5 in A major)
A CAREGIVERS GUIDE TO THE ORCHESTRA
Adapted from a Guide written by: Holly Mulcahy, Concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony (Check out her blog!)
- If you feel your child can sit through some recordings of works thoughtfully, they may be ready for some live music. Check out our calendar and see what concerts might be a good fit. Have a listen yourself to recordings of works from a potential programme – you should be able to tell if the music is something that will engage your child or not.
- Sit with your child and play portions of the recordings to be performed on the concert program. Ask the questions listed above – draw pictures, tell stories, and share a treat. Tell them you are proud of how they can sit quietly, and you’d like to reward them by taking them to see the music in person!
- Explain what will happen from picking the tickets up, to finding a seat and sitting quietly while a real orchestra plays the music they have come to know. Explain that there will be a time to talk during intermission and after the concert you will take them for a special treat, so you can talk about the concert.
- Make a big deal – Talk about what you might wear (dressed up? super comfy? warm clothing for an outdoor event?), how you will get to and from the venue, what might you do before and after (supper? drivethrough?)
- Buy tickets near an exit or at the back if you are even remotely concerned your child might not sit through the concert.
- Do buy a programme – as well as providing reading material for a wriggly small person, it contains lots of interesting information about the music and the people on the stage
DURING THE CONCERT – GUIDELINES FOR A HAPPY NIGHT OUT – including some tips of secret signs and handshakes for your kids!
- You will place your hand on your child’s shoulder if they are moving too much.
- You will remove your child if they make a fuss.
- You will have your child use the restroom before the concert.
- Your child will tap your leg if they are done, and you will acknowledge the tap by holding their hand and you will leave at the end of a movement or at intermission if possible.
- Notice as many exits as possible, have a plan and several backups.
- Try to take your seat about 5 minutes before the concert starts.
- No kicking the seat in front and no talking.
- Only quiet flipping through the program book, and if it falls, leave it on the ground.
- Both you and your child will go out for a treat afterwards if the behaviour was good.
POST CONCERT FOLLOW-UP
- Hopefully you and your child had a great time – Good preparation usually allows for that!
- Ask your child what the best part of the concert was and what wasn’t. Make notes for future concerts.
- Start introducing some other music, keeping your tradition and special time going strong.
There is no right age limit. Some kids can sit still for a couple hours at age 6, some have to wait until age 13. You will know when your child is ready, and if you discover they are not there quite yet , you now have a plan for a graceful exit.
Sharing orchestral music is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child. In a society where attention spans are shrinking, this is a great vehicle to give a child access to a longer attention span and a calmer thought process. Additionally, encouraging children to use their imagination is a marvellous way to encourage creativity while helping them direct their emotions.
OPTIONAL GROUNDWORK PREPARATION
- Sit with your child and listen to a three-minute piece. Before the piece starts, ask the child to listen for three things. Is it a happy or sad piece? Was it quiet or loud? Was it fast or slow? It is important that you convey that while listening they are not to talk but to listen fully! After you listen with them, discuss what they thought. I think it would be a nice tradition to discuss over a treat.
- A week later try a longer piece. Same questions, same discussion. Don’t forget the treat during the discussion!
- After you bump up listening lengths, start to ask them to use their imagination more. What did the piece remind them of? Did it make them think up a story? Perhaps they could paint a picture of the images that came to mind. Painting, discussing, and the treat now become a thing – You’re sharing a powerful experience that is fun and meaningful.
- Bonus discussions may pop up such as what instrument is making what sounds. Be prepared to Google what you don’t know, and you might learn something fun, too!