Category Archives: classical music for children

Who am I being that my children eyes are not shining…

One of my favourite TED talks. Really worth listening to, all brilliant but the second part is especially moving. It is more of a life lesson that just a talk on a classical music and its power…

‘The job of C is to make B sad’ ūüėČ said Benjamin in his talk.

‘And the job of us as the parents is to make our children happy’ ūüėČ says me.

 

Benjamin Zander (music conductor) describes what a revelation it was for him when he realised that the conductor of the orchestra doesn’t make a sound. He entirely depends on his power to make other people powerful. To awaken possibility in other people. You look at their eyes. If their eyes are shiny you know you are doing this. If their eyes are not shiny: who am I being that my children’s eyes are not shining?

How many shiny eyes I have around me? It really makes a difference what we say, the word which come from our mouths.

He recalls a story of his friend who survived Auschitz and made a vow¬†¬†to never say anything that couldn’t stand as a last thing she will ever say. Can we do it… His answer is ‘not quite’ but it is a possibility to live to…

So many wise thoughts and equally so many opportunities for us to shape the mindset and choices of our children.

Why is it that we all start with a really high hopes, really high aspirations, really high quality choices only to find ourselves on the sliding scale as the years go by… The children needs have not changed but somehow our attitude has and the older they get the less harder we try…

Sorry, I know it is totally unfair on all of us (the parents) as most of us would still try our best, it is just that the ‘novelty’ of a new baby and the new vows slowly worn off and there are so many other things we need to make space for and incorporate into our lives…

Fair enough and I agree, there is nothing harder than a parent trying to juggle it all however… despite of all this, and maybe even because of it all, we still need to remember to make time and space for these quality moments with our children… be it one-to-one at the theatre or looking into their eyes and properly listen as they tell us the stories from their day or just cuddling together and reading their favourite book for the tenth time with the same excitement in our voice.

And every time we get this little spark in their eyes it tells us we are doing it right.. it tells us we are giving them the quality time they need to feel valued and understanding, we show them they are unique and important to us and that is how their self confidence is being built. And one day they will stay in front of other people, our little ‘music conductors’ ūüėČ and if they can pass on this positive message on to others and creatively inspire others in whatever area they choose to be in then we have succeeded. And more importantly they have succeeded as found the strength and passion in their lives.

And how do I go about it all in our family every day life?

Well it is certainly not easy but the key to it is to make it part of your ‘life routine’ if you like and simply get on with it ie make some conscious choices.

I play some classical cds at home and we listen to Classic FM in the car (our car cd has been broken for too long and we simply got used to it now ;-)). I often take them to some local churches for the classical music concerts (cheaper than cinema tickets) and we will have family fun trips to Southbank or Wigmore hall in London. They both organize Family classical music concerts periodically and these are so much fun, very informal and animated (our favourite are Southbank ones run by Chris Jarvis from Cbeebies!! ;-)).

I think it is a bit like osmosis. You think nothing is happening, ‘these things’ don’t make any difference to our children’s lives and then suddenly you realise that something has actually been happening throughout all this time…¬†something almost so subtle and delicate that it is difficult to even capture into the words… And it is this sensitivity, this inner understanding of things, this state of being attuned to the world and its surroundings that gets develop along the way…

These ‘certain values’ which come with it… they are ‘invisible’ if you like but they come to life when you talk to your child, when you watch him conducting yourself and referring to others, when you experience his sensitivity.. when you look into their eyes and they are there wide open and shiny, as they just discovered¬†another greatest pleasure of life, they now know and understand and are not afraid to listen to the classical music! I call it a ‘tiny little victory’;-).

The below is a what Giselle drafted last night only. She was designing a new instrument…

 

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Giants are Small and so is my little boy (at Barbican)

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We went to see Giants Are Small and the New York Philharmonics Orchestra at Barbican a few weeks back. What a brilliant show it was!

The concert was based on Stravinsky’s Petrushka, a tale of love and death taking place at a Russian Fairground. The concert was simply breathtaking especially that we had a first row seats (simply booked a few months in advance, same price for all).

There were a few, dressed up in black puppeteers who were operating a number of stunningly crafted hand-puppets. These in turn were being constantly filmed by two cameras (on the wheels, operated by a couple of people) and the images were directly projected into the large screen hanging above the stage. A brilliant way to teach the children how the animation works and how the animation films are being made. Mine were mesmerised!

There were also some dancers including the main character performed by ballerina and some brilliant visual light effects. And the New York Philharmonics of was brilliant of course, the players were dressed in funny Russian outfits and were very entertaining jumping out of their seats to the different part of the music.

A brilliant mix of classical music, great narration, puppets, dance, film and visual effects. You can probably guess by now that there was something happening on the stage all the time and as such the attention of all my three remained at its highest throughout!

As the show was brilliant, our return from the Barbican was anything but great. At the back of Barbican there is an outdoor cafe area with.. some rather deep fountains¬†and some large stones scattered around. As soon as Conrad saw this he was ‘in his element’ (to be fair to him there were a few other children, although older in appearance, who were jumping from one stone to another).

So off he went, it all took place so quickly! He actually asked me very briefly whether he could go and jump and me listening to my common sense should say a definite No but then looking at the other children happily hopping from one stone to another and not wanting to spoil the fun he was having, I said ‘I don’t really think so (I had a fifth sense!!) but if you feel like you really want to you can’.

That was all he needed and he was off in a flash. He jumped into the first stone and it is only then when he realised that it is a far bigger challenge than he has originally envisaged at first but then he was no longer in position to stop himself (he is as fast as a spark!).

He managed to touch the second stone with his feet but it was too close to the edge and I could see it happening here and then. He started slipping into the water (it was very cold and deep all the way up onto his waist). My heart has stopped but luckily his ‘survival mode’¬†kicked in and he quickly pulled himself up (‘like I have been doing push-ups at PE mumme’ he later told me!) holding on to a stone in front of him.

He emerged standing on the stone wet up to¬†his chest, looking totally shocked and.. on a verge of crying (but he didn’t!).

I quickly got him back from the stones – it all happen so fast that the rest of the family has missed the most of it all. My very first reaction was to cuddle him and be grateful nothing serious happen to him but then my ‘parenting mind’ got¬†to have its say and I gave him a quick lesson about taking the responsible risks.

From the hindsight I should rather cuddle and comfort him first and only once dry and safe I should have go through the whole scenario with him and learn the lessons but then I didn’t want to lose the momentum and risk another similar type of ‘accident’ happening to him in the future (which inevitable will as he is such a brave risk-taker!).

We went to the Reception and ask for some dry lost property clothes to change him into. There was nothing other than a huge red ‘Barbican’ jumper so we took some clothes from Giselle and Arthur and he was wearing my husband’s coat, no pants (sic!) and wet trainers with no socks. A long trail back home with a happy ending I guess…

And yes I should have probably dropped an email to Barbican notifying them of the accident and flagging up the potential danger for the children the place may entail (there is no access restriction nor any warning in place).

The blogger below has written a brilliant description of the Petrushka event:

http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2015/apr/17/petrushka-stravinsky-giants-are-small-doug-fitch-new-york-philharmonic