Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Music is important to our children's development, listening to it and experiencing it. But why take our kids to a concert when we could just turn on the iPod? Lots of reasons.
First and foremost is the experiencing part. When a child can see, as well as hear, how the music is being created it adds a whole new level to their understanding. Combining the skills of watching and listening creates numerous brain connections. A drum makes a sound by being hit or tapped, while a flute makes a sound from being blown into. Seeing this happen helps children put the instruments into categories and learning to categorize is a crucial lifelong skill. Taking children to concerts opens their minds to different music, allowing them to enjoy it in a new way.
Aside from the musical education received at a concert there are other benefits. One of these is that taking your child to a concert is an excellent time to instill manners and etiquette. Dress up for a symphony, dress down for a concert in the park. For young children it's about sitting still, knowing when to speak, when to remain quiet. When they get older it can be used for other lessons. In our family we like to use concerts for dates. I love going on dates with my husband but sometimes he takes our daughter instead. It's great one on one time for them. I help her get ready, finding the appropriate thing to wear, and then he treats her like a lady, taking her to dinner, holding the door for her. She learns how to behave in a social setting, treated like a lady she behaves like one and will expect that same treatment with dates in the future. Every child will need to know social etiquette, know how to behave at a wedding, an award ceremony, or unfortunately a funeral. Taking them to concerts beginning at an early age will prepare them for these social situations with grace. It may not occur to us but knowing when or when not to clap is a good skill to learn!
Santa Clarita has not been named “Awesometown” without merit. We have here a huge selection of concerts and a wonderful appreciation for the musical arts. Even our children's schools have the rare gift of music education. The Newhall School District Music Makers PTA provides chorus and orchestra opportunities to our children. And there are numerous concerts that you can attend with your child without breaking the bank. There is an “Almost free Family Events” series at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center including an upcoming musical based on the popular children's book “Click Clack Moo”. The Santa Clarita Symphony Chamber Ensemble provides a “Free Stimulus Series” and a Children's Instrument Petting Zoo around town. The Santa Clarita Master Chorale holds concerts including an upcoming event directed toward children titled “Fairy Tales, Fables and Creatures”. You can catch a show like Peter Pan by ESCAPE or a concert by the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra, both for children and by children. There are monthly free children's concerts at Christ Lutheran Preschool and free child-friendly concerts at Undergrounds, a donation only coffee shop on the campus of Real Life Church, on Friday evenings.
If you're already enjoying concerts with your kids please share with us your favorites. If not, check some out! Spend some one on one time with your little pumpkin, introduce them to the beauty that is music. Not only will you have a great time but you will encourage their essential development. And it wouldn't hurt to do a little research first with a great book like "The Story of the Incredible Orchestra". Now go ahead, and enjoy!