Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Music appreciation - start young

C. and I attended a three-day folk music festival this past weekend. It's the same festival where we officially fell in love two years ago (it rained on us for eight hours that year -- it was sunny and perfect this year), so it will always be something special for us -- and something that is just ours.

Many people in attendance brought their children. C. and I discussed it, and we decided there are a few windows of childhood when that works -- infancy up to about a year (maybe age 2) and then again after about age 12. This conclusion was based mostly on observation of the children in the 3-11 range. The younger set were hot and tired -- and whiny as a result (who can blame them? Twelve hours in the sun is a long, long time!). The older ones just couldn't keep still or quiet -- and many of them made endless demands for food, face painting and treats.

There were a few notable exceptions. A family near us had two boys -- I'd guess they were about 8 and 10 -- and they were delightful. They listened quietly. They played board games with the adults. They read their books. I noticed one of them wearing a science fair t-shirt, and it made me wonder if children who are drawn to science are better able to cope with adult events like a music festival. Is it because their minds are more easily occupied with ideas and observation?

I think it's wonderful to expose children to music. I wish parents did more of that, but a lot of these children didn't even listen to the music. Most of them were off chasing friends or playing in the nearby creek. (At $35+ per ticket, that's some expensive play time.) It made me wish the parents would make them just sit - and just listen - even for a little while. I really think children are more capable of appreciating culture than their parents expect. They are also more capable of being respectful and polite than anyone seems to demand anymore.

In any case, C. and I won't be bringing his kids or our future children to this particular festival. This one is ours.

However, it did inspire me to expose the kids to  more art, music and culture and help them appreciate the beauty of observation and quiet enjoyment -- as a nice contrast and balance to their much-needed noisy playtime.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad that you and C have your own special festival to attend together every year...it sounds like wonderful memories have been made already and will be made there in the future! I think its awesome to expose children to music as well, I hope to put my son in piano lessons as a child in addition to all the other exposure he gets from his musical mama:)