Last night, for a birthday treat, my husband took me to dinner at my favorite steakhouse on Houston Street, and then we walked across the street and enjoyed a San Antonio Symphony concert at the Majestic Theatre. The program, featuring Mussorgsky and a Saint-Saëns violin concerto (with a Stradivarius!), was sublime. The Symphony sounds great, and will probably sound even better next year at the Tobin Center.
Going to the symphony got me thinking about how to share my love for classical music with my kids.
An easy thing we do is playing classical music radio in the car—a form of “carschooling“. In San Antonio, we are lucky to have KPAC 88.3 FM, part of Texas Public Radio, which is supported by memberships.
But there is no substitute for hearing classical music live. The challenge is how to teach kids about what they’re hearing and help them maintain focus for a full concert program. The San Antonio Symphony is experimenting with a way to enhance the classical music experience for young listeners. The DISCOVER series concerts feature musical samples and explanations by Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing (an engaging and animated personality); a large video screen shows close-ups of the conductor and the musicians.
This afternoon’s program is DISCOVER Pictures at an Exhibition, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 6, 2013. Learn more: “San Antonio Symphony kicks off new season”, Deborah Martin, San Antonio Express-News, October 2, 2013; “Opening Night at the Symphony a Truly Majestic One”, Robert Rivard, Rivard Report, October 5, 2013; “San Antonio Symphony begins 74th season”, David Hendricks, San Antonio Express-News, October 5, 2013.
If you can’t make it to today’s concert, the Symphony is planning two more DISCOVER concerts this season:
The Symphony also has three Family Concerts planned:
- October 27, 2013: Halloween Spooktacular—The Composer Is Dead
- December 22, 2013: Holiday Magic!—A Family Holiday Celebration
- April 13, 2014: Peter and the Wolf
Before each concert, visit the instrument petting zoo.
For schools, the Young People’s Concerts are an opportunity for students to take a field trip to hear the Symphony perform. The Symphony offers scholarships (over $100,000 last year) to cover ticket costs for low income and Title 1 schools, but the concerts are open to all public school, private school, and homeschool students. I am grateful to the Symphony’s donors for expanding access to the concerts: classical music is an art form that transcends race, class, culture, and time.
How do you like to share your favorite music with your kids?
Disclosure: The San Antonio Symphony gave me two free tickets, orchestra left, to Saturday evening’s concert.