The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra is a wonderful local source of great classical music, but it might not immediately come to mind when parents are looking for something to do with their young child. HSO is out to change that.
According to Jennifer Doss, manager of development and marketing, HSO works hard to make classical music fun and accessible to children because of the important role it can play in their development.
“Music encourages young children to develop imagination, invention, creative thinking and communication skills while at the same time, assisting to increase listening skills, memory and concentration. Music also aids in the acquisition of early language skills. Most children can sing every word of the Alphabet Song before they can identify a single letter. When they grow older, they are able to learn the sequences and patterns of the language through the lyrics,” says Doss.
This Saturday, February 25, HSO is hosting their annual Free Family Concert so we figured it was the perfect time to chat with Jennifer and get some more info on all the great music programs available through the symphony and find out what parents can do to make classical music fun for the whole family.
Q: Many families aren’t familiar with your Opus Tadpole and Sneak Preview programs. Can you explain what they are and how they came about?
Opus Tadpole is an introduction into the world of making music for 3 – 6 year olds. These events are held at 10:15am in the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall the day of Classical Concerts. Opus Tadpole is sponsored by The Little Gym. The Little Gym staff lead the children in fun-filled musical games and activities. In addition, members of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra introduce the children to a featured musical instrument. This year, the flute; trumpet; violin; percussion; cello and the clarinet were featured. The instrument, and the variations of other instruments in that range, are demonstrated and the history of the instrument is discussed. No reservation is required to attend and it’s completely free. Parents attend the class with their children and all attendees of Opus Tadpole also have free access to the “sneak preview” of the orchestra rehearsal at 11am. (Otherwise, tickets to Sneak Previews are $5 per person.)
Q: Huntsville Symphony Orchestra has several community outreach programs beyond even Opus Tadpole. Can you briefly describe what options are available for children who have an interest in classical music?
The FREE Family Concert is an annual concert made possible by two sponsors: The Painted Violin Society (which individuals and families can join) and Damson Automotive Group. The concert is open to the entire community, free of charge. The theme this year is “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” It will be held February 25th at 11am in the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall. In addition, there are FREE family activities before the concert (10am). Some of the activities include face painting; coloring; instrument petting zoo; musical chairs; musical hula hoop; etc. It is a wonderful opportunity for families to spend quality time together and enjoy the sounds of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra play fun, familiar music.
Q: What advice would you give parents looking to encourage and nurture a love of music in their children?
If you have a child who seems to be interested in music, there are many simple ways to further stimulate your child’s interest. Sing to your child. Dance with your child. Teach them action songs. (Action songs are a great way to teach kids about rhythm and other musical concepts.) Share with them your favorite songs. Rent, buy, or borrow books, videos, and CD’s that revolve around the subject of music. Join parent-child classes available in your area that introduces the concepts of music in a fun way. Take them to local concerts. (Concerts are a great way to introduce your child to performers and musical instruments. ) And lastly, if your child is interested in learning how to play an instrument, do encourage that interest by enrolling him/her in music lessons. Make sure you pick a teacher that has a rapport or connects well with your child and one who is specifically trained to teach children.
Congratulations Danielle Lee Smith!
You won our first Family 4-pack to Phineas and Ferb Live! at the VBC on March 16th at 6:30 PM. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange to pick up your tickets. Didn’t win? No worries, we’ve got two more 4-packs to give away before the big night plus we’ll also be giving away 4-packs with pit passes to Monster Jam. Stay tuned…