Concerts for children play an essential part in audience development for new music
A lot of contemporary music is humorous and actually a lot of fun – even for young children to listen to. But how can we involve children in contemporary concerts?
You cannot put 4-year-olds into a concert hall and expect them to be quiet. Let alone to listen. Or clap. Many contemporary music ensembles are experimenting with special children's concerts where the music meets the children at eye-level. This can be by encouraging the children to play or draw while the music plays. Or by inviting the children to play along.
Exposing children to contemporary music is a core task for contemporary ensembles, for no one else is going to introduce them to it. Only by a targeted effort to address the small audience can contemporary music expect to have any audience in the future. But it has to take place in the children's own universe, and how do you do that best? And what pieces of music work? NewAud has tried to find answers to these questions.
Other Working Communities
The final report sums up the outcome of the NewAud project. It evaluates the results regarding audience development, the cooperation of the ensembles, as well as the ensembles' artistic development throughout the project.
The ensembles in the NewAud working community 'Children meet music' met for a workshop discussing how we can more meaningfully engage children age 7 to 12 in school and family settings? This document lists their recommendations in regards of the choice of repertoire, venue and atmosphere.
Wouter van Looy is a Dutch music festival leader and the artistic director of Music Theatre Transparant. He has years of experience in designing events, not least music festivals, with an appeal to the younger generation. In this document he presents five principles to guide you when organizing your event or concert: Alternate expression and impression; Get rid of barriers and conventions, Present activities on the boarder of the possibilities or skills; Authenticity based communication and Create an environment for wellbeing.
The Polish ensemble Kwartludium mixed concert and workshops for children aged 4-12 years – the audience that is the most open minded. 110 children participated in the event at a traditional concert hall. They listened to the new music with interest and remained concentrated during the whole event. They were eager to participate in all the proposed games and activities. This report describes the concept and shares the thorough evaluations made from observations of the children, evaluation games and a focus group interview with the parents.
The Polish ensemble Kwartludium mixed concert and workshops for children based on the belief that new music should be reachable for the young audience – the audience that is the most open minded. They made two concerts; one for the 4-7 year olds and one for the 8-12 year olds. Both concerts took place at the National Gallery of Art ZACHĘTA and were a great success. This report describes the concept and shares the thorough evaluations made. Throughout the event a number of children where being observed for the ensemble to learn from their reactions. Furthermore an evaluation game was made with the children after the event, as well as a focus group interview with some of the parents.
The Finnish ensemble Avanti! Chamber Orchestra played a unique concert with no less than 60 children on stage – all playing the clarinet. Celebrating their cooperation with the Helsinki Conservatory, the ensemble wanted to engage young children in the world of new music – not only as an audience, but as contributing participants in a professional concert. This document in brief describes the concept of the concert.