It’s kind of ironic how, when I was pregnant with both of my children, I would play classical music for them to listen to in the womb (to ensure AP status in preschool, of course), but their musical preferences couldn’t be farther from those symphonic sounds. These days, Owen likes pretty much anything that works with his robot dance (which, I have to boast, is pretty sweet) and Sasha tends to go for the typical kids music with easy melodies and fun lyrics. It’s not that they don’t like orchestra music; they just aren’t really exposed to it, since my husband and I don’t listen to it much.
Perhaps the right kind of introduction could change that. Something like the concerts taking place at the Kennedy Center this weekend would be a great opportunity. On Saturday, January 8, there is an NSO Teddy Bear Concert, Fancy That! The Teddy Bear series are symphony performances geared especially toward families with little ones. This particular production is a one-woman show featuring NSO violinist Marissa Regni about how to decorate music in the form of ornamentation and variations. To help “illustrate” this idea, the program is presented alongside graphic artist Marie Cheek, who will put children’s imaginings of fancy music into images. Music by Bach, Mozart, and Prokofiev is featured in this program that proves that both teddy bears and musicians love to accessorize. (Yes, that description came straight from the website). Shows are at 11am, 1:30pm, and 5pm, and you can arrive early for “musical playtime.” Starting a half hour before each Teddy Bear Concert, there are music and movement activities especially designed for small children. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased online.
Older children might enjoy Sunday’s performance, an NSO Ensemble Concert: Connections: MORE Science and Music. Endangered species, synapses, neurons, condensation, and precipitation — are these terms from a science course or a music class? In this fast-paced, multimedia performance, students hear and see how a melody can be played on a laundry hose (or a tuba); how instrument makers are responding to the near-extinction of their favorite trees; and whether a violinist can break a world speed record. Featuring NSO musicians Yvonne Caruthers, cello, Natasha Bogachek, violin, and Stephen Dumaine, tuba, it’s science with excitement! (Again, straight from the website.) Performances are at 1:30pm and 4pm. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased online.