Tuesday, June 09, 2009

"These Viennese certainly know good music when they hear it!"

I was mulling over today the answer I gave last week in how to help raise a musical child, and I feel the need now to revise and extend my remarks a bit, because I neglected to mention a blindingly obvious means of stoking a child's interest in music, or at least stoking their realization that music is interesting in itself and is a very real thing that people do in addition to just having on in the background. I'm talking about attending live music.

Now, one should be careful and selective, depending on the age of the child, but live music has to enter into the equation, if one is being serious. This need not necessarily mean whisking the kid to this Friday evening's performance of Mahler's Resurrection Symphony, or to hear Bach's St. Matthew Passion; that probably won't help matters, for the same reason that having a kid's first movie be Citizen Kane or The Seventh Seal isn't the best idea. But most symphony orchestras nowadays, I suspect, have some kind of regular programming during the season for children, and these programs can be delightful -- we took The Daughter to a performance of Beethoven Lives Upstairs a year ago, and a great time was had by all.

If a children's program isn't in the offing, then any "pops" type concert will do, depending on the repertoire one wishes to hear. We're coming up on the 4th of July; those concerts are always a blast, and if you can't attend one, watch it on teevee. Go see The Nutcracker at Christmastime. Watch the annual New Years From Vienna concert. And don't limit it to orchestras, either; if a good ensemble of any kind is performing, take the kid to hear them. Yes, they will be intermittently bored, but the more you do it, the more they will see music as an interesting activity and less as sonic wallpaper.

And finally, don't overlook the most basic of all musical instruments: the human voice. Encourage singing!


Lynette said...

Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! A good ear and taste for music is developed from the womb!

fillyjonk said...

Now that I think of it - my parents had tickets to "Blossom" (the summer home of the Cleveland Symphony) when I was a child. They were lawn tickets, which meant they would bring a couple of blankets and a picnic supper, and I could run around (well, in their line of sight) until the concert started - and it was kind of "relaxed manners" as compared to indoor concerts.

It was a good introduction because it wasn't quite as "formal."

Some of the concerts were "pops" (their fourth of July always was), some were "straight" classical, some were popular music. (The Carpenters played - I don't really remember the concert but I was there).

We also did occasionally go to "indoor" concerts, and there were a few times when I was a bit older that I "benefited" when my brother was sick - I saw La Traviata because my brother had an ear infection and was fussy and my mom figured she had better stay home with him, so my dad took me.