With our big All-Institute Concert just around the corner, I thought I would share some fun ways to engage your child during a longer, formal classical music event. Many of these ideas are inspired by my own family’s strategies of helping my siblings and I stay quiet and attentive during concerts!
1. Set expectations before the concert. Explain how the concert will work, and how your child should ask. Give them examples of quiet ways to signal that they need something, and that they may talk to you when they hear clapping.
2. During the concert, bounce to the beat together, or tap the rhythm of the piece on their knee. You can also try tapping a short rhythm on their shoulder, and then have them repeat the tap back on yours. These exercises also help children develop and improve their sense of rhythm and ability to hold a steady beat.
3. Do some hand warm ups. Try alternating fists and finger spread, or tapping each finger on the thumb in turn.
4. Look for contrasts. Have your child listen to see if the next piece sounds happy or sad. Other good dichotomies are loud/quiet pieces, and fast/slow tempos. Remind them to think the answer in their head, and tell you once they hear applause.
Remember that every student here was once a young child, and people understand that sometimes children are disruptive without meaning to be. If you decide to step out with your child, don’t worry! Once they are ready to rejoin the audience, wait for the next applause and head back in.
I hope that these tips help further your family’s enjoyment of our upcoming concert, and any other classical music event you wish to attend!