Children are drawn to music, whether they’re singing their ABC’s or dancing to a catchy beat. Not only are these moments totally adorable, but introducing kids to music when they’re young has its benefits, too.
Singing helps with language development, playing shakers or small instruments encourages motor skills, and moving to music develops coordination.
If you’re thinking about a fun musical experience for your little one, check out some of the programs of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO). Babies, toddlers, and school-aged children can stimulate their senses and learn the foundations of music in group classes. There are also enriching, kid-friendly concerts that the whole family can enjoy.
We’ve rounded up some of the cool musical offerings that caught our eye, and organized them for you by age below. Your child can learn new songs, try out instruments, move to the beat, and most importantly, develop an early love of music that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Do you have a tiny bundle of joy on the way? If you’re pregnant, Pre-Natal Music and Relaxation is a wonderful way to take a break from your day and discover your singing voice. This class is perfect for any stage of pregnancy and combines breathing and relaxation techniques with soothing songs and vocal exercises. You can meet other expectant moms and get ready to sing sweet lullabies to your little one.
Infants & Babies
Even infants can benefit from music. If your child is not yet crawling, take advantage of a chance to stretch and strengthen at Parent & Baby Musical Yoga. This class combines yoga poses with classical music, singing, and music-making. It’s a win-win for mom and baby!
Older babies that are not yet walking can try First Sounds Baby Music. It’s packed with games, rhymes, and songs, and will give you plenty of music-based activities to do at home.
Toddlers & Preschoolers
As kids get more independent and active, Mini Music Makers is a good option. This class features lots of music, movement and play while giving children a chance to socialize with peers. Toddlers that are walking can join in with a grown-up, while preschoolers can start to make music on their own.
The VSO’s Tiny Tots series is designed for young concert-goers under the age of five. Don’t worry if your energetic toddler wants to bounce around or sing loudly, as kids (and parents!) are encouraged to join in. Led by two music educators—known as Lisa and Linda—these performances feature instruments, sing-alongs, movement, and plenty of audience participation. There are four different shows during the season, held at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre and the Anvil Theatre in New Westminster.
What instruments make up an orchestra? What should you listen for in classical music? Kids aged 5-9 are ready to learn more, and Sounds of the Symphony will fuel their curiosity. Each week, the class will explore a famous orchestral work and discover a new instrument. Drama and movement are also used.
This is also a great age to introduce children to music performed by the VSO’s full orchestra. The OriginO Kids’ Koncerts series is designed for children aged 4-11, as the orchestra takes to the stage with musical entertainers. Come early to visit the instrument fair, and get an up-close look at instruments played by musicians in the orchestra. Performances take place at the beautiful Orpheum Theatre.
These are just a few ways to introduce your child to new sounds, rhythms, and experiences. You can also check out music programs at other schools or your neighbourhood community centre, or simply enjoy music-filled time at home.
Either way, your child will have a blast making music, and you’ll inspire a lifetime of music appreciation.