Sitting on a coach on the way back from a rainy concert in Carlow, Sylvia and I were lamenting the lack of opportunities for our children to hear and engage with live classical music. The traditional route of concert hall was closed to them (unless it was for a ‘children’s concert’, designed with the older school going child in mind), so where could they go to experience live classical music up close and personal?
I was reminded of an article I had read about a festival in the UK where the innate multitasking capacities of young children were encouraged to blossom. These children were listening to music as they were climbing trees. I thought of how my own children learn; always doing something, playing, building, drawing, pausing to take something in, then returning to their activity. The notion of young children being quiet and keeping still in order to listen to music, suddenly seemed antiquated, forced and counterproductive. Wouldn’t a more natural and productive environment allow children to play, build and draw as they were surrounded by a live performance? Then, they could dip in and out at their own pace, absorbing and interacting completely naturally. If they want to react by making a noise, that’s great. If they want to react by moving or dancing, that’s great. If they want to stare with their mouths hanging open, then that’s also great.
Of course, there’s an added bonus for the parents..
The stress of trying to keep young children quiet and still is removed. Ahhh. Free to relax and enjoy the music knowing the children are occupied.
So let’s do it Sylvia and I thought. Play mats, building blocks, colouring and live classical music. Perfect. In an informal, accessible, community based setting. Even better.
That’s another thing. Why the hassle of travel and parking in the city centre when these concerts could be rooted in the local community? The opportunity to be able to stroll to a concert, buggy in tow. We felt that was important.
So classicalkids.ie was born. Our first series in Monkstown, County Dublin, went really well and we’re now well into our current series in Dalkey. Onwards and upwards!