Wednesday, April 7, 2010

To the Symphony we go: Tips for taking kiddos to concerts!!

From a blog on

We've all taken our little ones to the movie theater (or are at least looking forward to the day they are old enough to see a film on the big screen), right?

But what about taking them to the symphony?

It's not as undoable as it might sound.

The Omaha Symphony has a family series designed with kids in mind. The concerts are short — less than an hour long — and typically have a visual component.

"This way, little eyes and ears are both engaged,” said Jennifer Boomgaarden, Omaha Symphony vice president of education and community partnerships.

“If your kid has never been to a concert before, their first experience shouldn't be an extremely long Mahler Symphony," she said. "Start small.

"At family concerts, it's OK — and even expected — for children to be a little squirmy.”


Check out these tips, from Boomgaarden, for successfully attending a symphony with your little ones:

Before you go:

Prepare them. If the music is based on a story (e.g. Peter and the Wolf), talk about it with your kids so they'll know what to expect. Listen to the music in advance through iTunes, YouTube, etc. If your child has heard it before, they'll be more excited/engaged at the concert.

Explain that, unlike DVDs or CDs at home, things on stage only happen once, so that's why you have to pay close attention!

Explain why taking pictures or being loud would distract the people on stage.

Help them realize concerts are fun and special by making an occasion of it. Get a little dressed up or go out for a family meal before/after.

At the show:

Be a good role model. Listen and be respectful to performers onstage.

Remind them to sit still and pay attention, but also let them know it's OK to clap, laugh and give honest feedback to the performers.

Get there early.

Use the bathroom before the show. Intermission lines can be long.

Explain to them the different instruments/sections of the orchestra and how different instruments make different sounds.

If you want your child to someday learn to play an instrument, start early and keep the music coming. If music is in the home and there's a variety, children are going to be more open-minded to different musical experiences. If kids have been exposed to the live orchestral experience, they're more likely to understand the concept, the possibilities and the practice it will require to succeed. The professional concert experience will serve as inspiration!

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