Monday, 3 October 2011

Big Ears Little Ears

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra have just piloted a trio of concerts for mums (or dads, carers, aunties, grandparents etc. and babies).  The idea is that mums with young babies don't get out much, and might  miss a bit of classical music and culture.  So along the lines of the "bumps and babes" daytime cinema showings, this is a concert for the mums, but where it's perfectly okay to have a small screaming thing along with you.

little ears
Firstly the price was very reasonable.  It was £6 for the adult and a baby under 18 months old, and then £5 for every additional adult or child over 18 months.  The Programme was a reasonable forty-five minutes, and included some incredible classics like Mendelssohn's Hebridean Overture, some Romanian dances, and some lullabies sung by mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill.  This was very well thought out.  The music was planned to either soothe the babies or get them jiggling and enthusiastic, as well as speaking to the parents.  There were brilliant lullabies and also a fabulous song about trying to get your baby to sleep in the middle of the night, and you actually got to feel like a grown up while listening to real grown up music.
big ears and little ears

In addition the concert was at 11am, so a good time to watch and then continue on for lunch and an afternoon nap.  Lights were left up so that you could see what you were doing with the baby, they made it very clear that while they would prefer the adults not to chat during the music, it was absolutely fine for the babies to "join in" as much as they wanted.  They operated an open-door policy so that you could leave the auditorium (for nappy changes or to deal with complete melt downs) and re-enter at any time.  

I really enjoyed the concert.  I was delighted when an acquaintance spotted me as she came in and came and sat with me.  Little Sis was quite happy to stare at the orchestra, to sit on my lap and jiggle or to feed and go to sleep.  So all in all it was a real success and did exactly what it was designed to do.  

Little C didn't quite "get it", but it wasn't aimed at toddlers.  It would be really great to see the Scottish Chamber Orchestra do another series next year aimed at small children - say from 2-10 year olds (in addition to, or alternating years with the baby concert).  They could introduce each instrument - tell them something about it and let it play - children's introduction to the orchestra? - include things like the duck song, Peter and the Wolf, the Carnival of the Animals and so on.  It would appeal to mums with pre-schoolers who would like to introduce their children to the pleasures of real live music from real instruments, as well as to school trips.

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