If we want children to grow to be musical beings they need to hear live music. No amount of pre-recorded music, aimed at children is going to cut it. Most music played for children shouldn't be children's music at all, but that's a rant for another time! What we need for children to become musical is music created right there and then in front of them. It needs to be organic and enticing. Music with real instruments. Music with real musicians. Hopefully REALLY good musicians! It doesn't really matter what style of music it is, just as long as it is delivered with passion from people who care about it. My kid's favourite type of music is symphonic film scores or wailing electric guitar, Hendrix goes down a treat around here!
I'm talking about experiencing the blues live, or folk, or classical, or some sort of weird and wonderful prog-fusion. I'm talking about taking your family for an adventure down the peninsula during the summer to one of the many markets (perhaps Emu Plains at Balnarring) or wineries who have live musos (Hickinbotham in Dromana springs to mind), and letting your children get up close to the instruments. Let the kids dance and move however they want to. Let them figure out where the sound comes from. Let them charm the friendly musicians into giving them have a tiny strum and a hit on a cymbal. Experiences like these can be life changing for young children.
I remember so clearly, being eight years old and having a string quartet come to my primary school. Following their amazing concert (it was seriously amazing, I thought they were magical!) they let the kids get up close to see how the strings vibrate. They showed us how they sound different when bowed and plucked. They showed us how to make it loud and soft. From that moment on I felt differently about "classical" music. It was instantly less stuffy. It was accessible, but you had to worked for it. I remember appreciating how clever these musicians were, but that they were also just people. I remember thinking that was just a person and wanted to do clever things with instruments too!
So, head into the city and claim your spot of the grass at the Music Bowl and be completely enchanted by an entire symphony orchestra one balmy evening. Find some buskers in a hidden skyscraper shadowed lane-way. Venture to the Melbourne Zoo for their chilled 'Zoo Twilights". Find a rural Christmas Carols event to sing along at. Melbourne has the "Music Play Children's Festival" on from the 14th through to the 17th of January and there are hands on events at the Recital Centre including "Sensory Sounds".
I know taking children to formal concerts could potentially be an absolute nightmare experience, but in the summer time there are countless outdoor and family friendly events on offer on the Peninsula and in Melbourne, so it's a fabulous time to get your music on! Get out there, make some memories and have a ball!
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