As a pregnant woman, when I wasn’t muttering about how awful it all was, I had a list of things to do with the baby once she was born. One of those was taking her to see live music – I had all kinds of things in mind. We used to go to the Halle orchestra’s Christmas concert every year, that was one, and I spent my last Glastonbury (sometimes) watching the kids there enjoying themselves, that was another.
With music being increasingly hard to find in schools for a plethora of reasons, I wanted music to be a part of E’s life somehow. Not just because I regret not learning to play anything properly when I was a wee lass – we had a piano for some years but neither of us really expressed an interest and my parents understandably got rid of it (with some difficulty if I remember, rolling it along on very-quickly-ruined broom handles.) E has some percussion instruments which she likes and my guitar sits here waiting for when a)I have time to remember how to play it and b) she looks like she might be interested.
S plays E classical music during her bath in an effort to calm her down – sometimes this is successful and sometimes they play Verdi’s Va, Pensiero which gives me a chance to bash the side of the bath as a drum – great fun.
In this spirit, we thought the Royal Centre’s Beanbag Music Club sounded rather good. It’s a special session for under 6s on a Saturday morning once a quarter (I think) where they bung a bunch of beanbags down on the upper lobby floor, seat the parents at the back and have a small group of musicians play and run an interactive music session. We bought our tickets (£7 a head) and went along.
E was restless as soon as we arrived and kept asking to go outside. Luckily, as soon as the session actually started she was really interested and clapped along, watching the players and laughing at the noises, the dancing and the props. The session was run by Grafitti Classics – 2 violins, a viola and a double bass. They played a range of music, made us clap and sing, danced, got one dad up to try and sing Flight of the Bumblebee through his lips and, at the end, allowed all the children to come up and play the double bass. E went up and did some sawing, despite the instrument being three times her size.
The session lasted just under an hour and there were plenty of jokes to keep the adults amused as well as fun things for the children to watch. From where we were sitting, everyone enjoyed it. There’s another performance scheduled for Christmas time – I think we’ll be there!