My daughter loves music. A result of being the child of a musician is that she has been exposed to all kinds of music pretty much constantly since birth. She has her preferences (she's not wild about opera but she LOVES the tuba) but really she's not terribly picky about what she listens to. Alice has been asking to come to a concert with me since she was around two years old. She is four now, but I think we can all agree that a KSO Masterworks or Chamber concert is not an appropriate outing for a wiggly four-year-old, even one who loves music. Luckily, the KSO also has a family series. My husband brought Alice to a family concert for the first time last year and it was a big hit with our family.
KSO's family series is different than any other I have played with other orchestras around the country. There are lots of things to do at the theater before the show. Kids can see instruments up close or explore the different aspects of being in and running an orchestra. The concert itself is also unique. There is a giant screen above the orchestra on which is projected a computer-animated penguin. Picardy, the star of the show, is a young penguin who enjoys music and wants to learn more about it. He interacts with Lucas, the orchestra and our guest artists in various ways. He even conducts the orchestra on occasion. Every concert has a single educational theme. Previous concerts have focused on the basic elements of music, families of instruments, and telling a story through music. Our concert on Sunday is titled “High-Low! Fast-Slow!” and will focus on the contrasting elements that composers use to bring variety and excitement to their works.
These concerts are long enough to be worth the outing but short enough to hold the attention of young wiggle worms. Another nice feature is that the musical selections and dialog are sophisticated enough that parents won't grit their teeth and check their watch through the whole performance. My husband has a very low tolerance for children's music / programming and he enjoyed the family concerts last season.
Alice is looking forward to our family concert on Sunday, and I must admit I am too.