Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Every fall, the Northwestern Wildcats marching band
members don their purple uniforms and line up on the practice field
to put on a different kind of show. There's no football team on the
field, no roaring fans in the stands.
Instead hundreds of children surround the musicians. Those kids
will grab their kazoos and toy drums for the chance to march with
the band as part of Northwestern's Kids Fare concert series.
"It's an unforgettable experience for them," says Richard
Van Kleeck, director of concert activities at Northwestern's Bienen
School of Music. "And it's a great entry point to get to kids. They
might see an instrument and say, 'I want to learn to play the drums
or the tuba.'"
Introducing kids to different types of music can start
while they're preschoolers through offerings such as Northwestern's
Kids Fare and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Kraft Family
The CSO opens its doors to children with one-hour concerts
that can also include theater and dance. "As opposed to a seated
concert, we have live musicians who demonstrate instruments; we
have instrument petting zoos," says Cayenne Harris, CSO director of
learning and access initiatives. "We offer music adults might hear,
but we offer it in a way that is engaging and accessible to
Kids learn about more than just music when they attend a
concert. "They're learning how to sit in a group and listen," Van
Kleeck says. "They see young people doing something together as a
group, that it's fun to make music and that, by grouping together,
you can make a great sound."
And remember that Chicago is home to all different types
of music. "Expose your kids to many, many kinds of music and see
where they feel a connection," says Harris.
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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