We took the boys to a concert last night: the five Brown siblings, all pianists, playing an outdoor concert that included Saint-Saens "Carnival of the Animals". This is one of the boys' favorite pieces of music. We have a cd and book that walks you through each part, and it has been an oft-requested piece during quiet time.
Tickets on the lawn at the top of the amphitheater were quite reasonable, and it really was a perfect introduction to live music for the kids. They could wiggle as much as they needed to on our picnic blanket, and I was pleased with how well they paid attention. Their favorite was definitely the Carnival, which brought home (to me) just how helpful it is to pre-expose kids to a piece of music before hearing it in concert. They were so pleased to recognize it! Jonathan could identify some of the movements by himself, and asked for help with the others. He wanted to know how certain sounds were made (Sarah, can you tell us how the jackass' signature sound is created on the violin?) and informed Gabe that the sounds of the "fossils" were meant to be "bones rattling, Daddy!"
Jonathan also really enjoyed watching the musicians. He was especially impressed with one of the girls, whom he pronounced "pretty" and "really good at the piano". He says he wants to learn to play like she does. Well then! Piano lessons, here we come. :)
We almost didn't bring Josiah, since he developed a fever a few hours before we left. But he did not want to be left behind, and to be honest, Gabe and I were really disappointed not to be able to go as a family. So at the last minute we decided to all go and hope for the best. Josiah spent the whole time in our arms, but it turns out that he had a great time. When the music ended, Gabe asked him, "what did you think, Josiah?"
"It was awesome!"
"So you liked it?"
"Yes I do!"
Thomas, as usual, didn't have much to say. But since he usually cares quite a lot about what music gets played at bedtime, I'm betting that he enjoyed himself.
I know that the kids will be tired and difficult today, but this was absolutely worth it. Live music, some of which they were familiar with, in a setting they could manage, played by engaging young people: it all added up to a pretty stellar first concert experience.