The Family That ‘Rocks’ Together
Music and art are an integral part of our family life. Daddy and I are huge concert and theatre fans and we brought Dana for her first Baby’s Prom by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) when she was barely 20months old. Since then, she has attended countless other concerts, plays and musicals with us at prominent art venues in Singapore like The Sands Theatre at MBS, The Esplanade and DBS Arts Centre.
|SSO Babies Prom|
|Bouncing to the music!|
Why Concerts – The concert and theatrical experience is a treat for the senses. It is an excellent introduction to the intricate world of performing arts. We all know the benefits that art and music bring towards the holistic development of a person, even more so a growing child. It develops a keen sense of hearing and opens up a whole new world linking sight and sound. Now, imagine…where would a child get to experience the full natural goodness of every timbre, tune and pitch being performed live. Only in concerts! In addition to the early exposure, attending concerts together as a family creates a special ‘kindred’ spirit where your child can aspire to benchmark against the good role models (of the musicians) she sees.
Tips on Taking the Kids to Concerts
Know Your Child. Attending a concert can be an exhausting experience for children (and adults alike) if you do not cater to their needs and interests. Before you buy tickets, ask: What type of concerts/plays/musicals would appeal to your child? Is it age-specific? Does your child hate crowds or love them? Will she be able to sit through the concert? Is she sensitive to sound or pretty tolerant of noise? Make sure your kids are going to be able to handle the crowds, the noise and the many hours sitting at a concert late into the night. I’ve seen many parents having to leave a performance mid-way to pacify wailing babies simply because the stadium was too dimly lit and sound effects too startling. We brought Dana to watch ‘Wiggles’ Live in Concert when she was 26 months because she grew up listening to their songs as a toddler before she transited to ‘Hi-5’ as a preschooler.
|The youngest fan of Hi-5|
Know the Concert. Be sure you check the duration and programme of the concert or musical. What songs will they be playing, what lyrics they’ll sing, what characters will be introduced…Will there be any special effects (such as pyrotechnics) which will stun the kids? Is there going to be intermission? Can your child handle the long queue at the loo? If your child is very young or hyperactive, it’s advisable to buy seats near the aisle so you can make a brief exit whenever needed.
Here are some kid-friendly shows we’ve watched as a family:
Music, Songs and Dance: SSO Babies Prom, Carnival of the Animals, Disney on Ice, Sesame Street Live, Big Eyes Big Minds, Hi-5, Wiggles and Barney.
Musicals: The Lion King, Annie and the upcoming Starlight Express.
Plays: Gruffalo, Cat in the Hat, Gingerbread Man, Three Little Pigs, The Ugly Duckling and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Join Sistic’s mailing list to get updates on new plays.
|Some of SRT’s productions – Cat in the Hat|
|and The Ugly Duckling…|
Prepare Your Child. Introduce the orchestra and music pieces to your child in the weeks leading up to the actual performance so she will be able to enjoy a full immersive experience. Talk about the instruments and songs that will make an appearance and sing them. If it’s a play or musical, familiarise your child with the plot and characters. Buy a copy of the programme from the box office and have a quick run-through before the performance starts to refresh her memory. Bring her to the pit to see where the orchestra will be seated during the musical’s intermission. Explain basic concert etiquette (such as no talking, no shuffling of feet, no food and drinks inside the auditorium). Bring your own booster seat (if you have one) in case the venue runs out of it.
|Dana’s 2nd Musical at MBS – Annie!|
Plan Ahead. It may sound obvious, but it bears repeating: Make sure your child knows what to do if he gets separated from you. Don’t count on hearing your mobile phone ring if you happen to get separated. Decide on a place to meet, write it down, and tuck it in your child’s pocket. Bring along some snacks from home just in case. It’s almost unbelievable how these concert venues can charge so much at their snack kiosks. You expect to pay big bucks for concert memorabilia, but $15 for a bucket of popcorn and $5 for a bottle of coke? It’s incredulous. I always pack some cheese biscuits in our carry-on bag for Dana to nibble during intermission. Look up the concert organizer’s website for details on what you’re allowed to bring to an event. Remember too, to bring a cardigan as most of these performing arts venues have air-conditioning at full blast. If your child feels too chilly, she may not be able to concentrate on the performance. If you know the concert will end later than your child’s usual bedtime, let her take a longer afternoon nap so she will be energized. Plan your route, give yourself ample time to arrive early (and find parking) so you and your child can settle into your seats before the auditorium light dims. It is natural to meet a large crowd of kids at these concerts (and some of them may be germy) so be sure to remind your family to wash their hands as often as they can.
What is your favorite family time? Are you a concert, play and musical fan like us too?