My daughter and I recently went to see and hear Stravinsky's Firebird performed by the National Arts Centre Orchestra here in Ottawa with accompanying theatrical performance by Enchantment Theater Company. She is now 6 years old so - not a preschooler anymore - but there were many younger ones there - even one expecting mother sat behind us to soak in the sounds of classical music! (It's never too early!) Now. It's important to note that this performance was part of a series designed with children in mind and that is enormously helpful when introducing your child to classical music performances - but not necessary.
If you are thinking of taking your little one to the symphony - here are a few ways to be sure you both can enjoy the experience.
1. Know the Story
Taking time to order a few books from your local library a week or so before to get acquainted with the story is a lot of fun. Many classical compositions take their origin in a legend or tale and if not - there are usually some picture books about the composer that are out there waiting to be read! No time for all that? Check out cute little sites like Seed Learning to get everyone up to speed!
2. Listen to the Music
Duh. I guess this one is a no-brainer, hey? It's always fun to see the look of recognition come over your child's face when they have been listening to the piece before they arrive at the concert. Take out some markers and let your little one colour while listening to the music.
3. Go time! Tips for during the performance:
Arrive early! When we got there we found many little pre-performance activities had been planned for the kids. We went to the washroom, got cozy in our chairs and got all our sillies out including the delight of being so light that our chairs folded us up like little tacos. (Ok. My chair was fine .. I'm sure it was just a defect). While we waited we talked about the times that are best to clap, how to sit properly in the chair and what we would order to drink and munch on at the intermission.
4. Take Advantage of the After-Effect
The concert's over and it was wonderful and you both enjoyed yourselves! So. What now? Well.. the fun has just begun! Now you can explore other performances and videos online like this original interpretation of Firebird by Disney in Fantasia 2000!
5. More for Mommy
As an adult, who has now attended the Firebird, you may wish to learn more about Stravinsky's artistry. I sure did! Take a peek at this wonderful video called "Discovering Stravinsky's Firebird: The Story and the Music"