The New York Philharmonic is known for many reasons, and one of those reasons is their Young People’s Concerts, which began in 1924. These concerts were especially popular from 1958-1972 when they were broadcast on television with conductor Leonard Bernstein. For the last nine years, the Philharmonic has also supported Very Young People’s Concerts, designed for children between the ages of 3 and 6.
The Very Young People’s Concerts happen three times each year, and they are led by two violists who have been members of the New York Philharmonic for a long time, Ms. Rence and Ms. Young. While they tell stories and interact with the children, other members of the orchestra perform music to go along with the stories. They have a penguin, named Philippe, who goes on adventures. In their most recent concert, Philippe went to China and the musicians performed Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite”.
Working with the musicians are artist Marion Schoevaert, who illustrates Philippe’s adventures, and a Columbia Teacher’s College professor who helps decide what is most appropriate for young children. They have to be very careful when putting together the music and the story because kids have immediate emotional reactions to music.
I think that these concerts are really great for several reasons. The fact that young children have emotional reactions to the music demonstrates how important music is for kids of all ages. Although these children are unlikely to remember specific experiences that they had in these concerts, they will grow through these musical events, and hopefully they will continue to be inspired by music as they grow up. It is equally as important that the parents share in these experiences. As the parents see the impact music has on their young children, it will encourage them to continue making music a part of their children’s lives.