Monday, June 25, 2012

Children and the Arts

So here's a post that was meant to go up Thursday night (June 21, 2012) BUT my poor computer went kaput.  So, here it is now, by way of the library computer lab...

This week Interlochen hosted their High School Institutes and this evening the Bassoon and Cello Institutes wrapped up their runs with a little night music.  Since today was my day off, I was able to attend both concerts as a regular audience member and am so thankful I did because they were the perfect happy ending to a kind of up and down day.  Both concerts were full of children, campers and their usually much younger siblings, and both reminded me (on a day I needed reminding) why I want to work in the arts and why it's so important to get our children involved in the arts.  Now, it doesn't take much more than a performer to smile at the tone of a note or furrow their brow in concentration for my heart to swell and be reminded of how much I'm looking forward to getting to work with artists in the future so I'm not going to talk about that today.

What I want to talk about is why children should be exposed to the arts as early and as often as possible...even if it means bringing them to a concert you're not sure they can sit through.  This evening at the bassoon concert I sat in front of a father and his little two year old boy who were there to see the little boy's sister play.  The little boy was very excited and so, naturally, he was squirmy and talkative.  I love children very much, to the point that even a screaming baby on an airplane doesn't bother me, so I may be an exception here, but I absolutely adored having this little chatterbox behind me.  He came to that concert with the kind of energy producers and administrators want every audience member to have.  This little boy was so thrilled to get to hear music (especially since it was his sister playing it) that I don't think he wanted to be anywhere else in the world for those forty-five minutes.  Bassoons have a unique, gorgeous, and often hilarious sound and throughout the concert (which featured pieces that played up the humor of the instrument) this little boy laughed and laughed and laughed and exclaimed "Funny!" whenever the adults in the audience joined him.  He sat in his seat and buzzed his lips together to imitate the sounds when he liked them and would crawl and dance along the pew as well, much to his father's chagrin.