For years, when the kids were little, I would read about performances of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) created specifically for kids to enjoy. Of course with the juggle of work, other kid stuff and generally being too busy, we never made actually made it to a performance. I was delighted when I was contacted by Alison a the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to offer me tickets to take the kids along to a performance. As usual, we had a crazy busy weekend ahead of us but the planets aligned and ice-skating was moved back a few hours so we had a morning free – the perfect opportunity to finally take the kids. Alison did stress that the performance was aimed at 3 – 8 year olds, that my kids being 7 and 9 might be a little old for the show but I know that they love music and that I want them to love dance again so I was willing to give it a shot, I would take the kids to a performance of Movement Makes Music, a unique collaboration between the MSO and the Australian Ballet Dance Education Ensemble will engage children aurally and kinetically. Performers will highlight the links between movement and music during this 50-minute show, in which audience members will be moved, inspired and enchanted.
I must admit that I was hesitant that boy-child would moan and complain all morning (as he frequently does!) so it wasn’t until we were in the car and on the way there that I actually told the kids where we were going and braced myself for the whinging. Guess what? There was none, we were off to a great start!
We made it to the venue with plenty of time to spare and found ourselves a spot front and (almost) centre on the floor, ready to enjoy the show. As we were waiting for the performance to begin, boy-child declared that if he was in the orchestra, he would be wearing a green shirt. I wondered why he would wear a green shirt and he pointed out that not only was green his favourite colour but it was also the colour that the woodwind musicians were wearing and since he plays clarinet he would have to wear green too! He then went on to point out that the string section were wearing blue shirts, brass in red and percussion in yellow. Already I was impressed at how much he was enjoying being there and the performance hadn’t even begun!
I really didn’t know how the show would be tailored to suit young children but found that the conductor used the time between pieces to introduce a different member of the orchestra, highlight the instrument that they played and talk about how it would be played in the next piece of music.
The dancers from the Australian Ballet were beautiful, showing how music can be influence dance and movement. Girl-child barely blinked the entire time that they were on stage. Boy-child was entranced by Patrick tap dancing different rhythms and then hearing Rob repeat the rhythms on a drum. He was even more impressed when Rob beat a rhythm on the drum that ended in a drumroll and Patrick was able to tap that same rhythm and drumroll.
Sure my kids were amongst the oldest there but they had a great time. In fact they both had such a great time that they are wanting to know when they can go back to the symphony. I don’t think the planets will align to allow us to go back during the school holidays but if they do, this is what I would love to go to – Peter and the Wolf. Prokofiev’s story of the irreverent Peter has resonated deeply with generations of children, enchanted by its power and sense of fun. Now BreakThru Films and Se-ma-for Studios, in collaboration with BAFTA-winning director Suzie Templeton, bring this mesmerising and enchanting classic to the big screen.
Thanks to MSO, I was lucky enough to have free tickets to take the kids along to see Movement Makes Music, but the opinions expressed are mine and those of my kids. We had a great day and only wish that we had discovered MSO Family Classic Kids a few years ago. Family Classic Kids is the MSO’s popular program of concerts for children aged three to eight years of age – and a great way to introduce young people to the wonders of orchestral music. With the children sitting right next to the Orchestra, there are opportunities to sing along, respond to the music with movement and actions, follow a story and maybe even conduct.
As a bonus, the kids had their photos taken with some of the musicians and the dancers!