Children as we know, are little sponges. They absorb everything around them and so as a musician I want my kids to absorb the very best of things, not cheap dumbed down versions. Music is no exception. If you play your child synthesised simple nursery rhymes, then that is all they will know and like. If however you play them the very best and most varied music then they will acquire a broad knowledge of musical instruments and at the same time learn to love music on a whole other level. Pianist Miaomiao Yu has embraced this view by setting up a series of baby friendly concerts with top class classical musicians which will not only stimulate and captivate your child but will also be a wonderful break in the day for you. At her 'Bach to Baby' concerts at child-friendly hours (10.30/4pm) it's totally fine for your kids to dance/sing along, have a run about, you can even change their nappy mid-sonata if you need to. I witnessed 2 toddlers standing stock still for a good 10 minutes transfixed by the wonderful harpist Sally Pryce as she played a diverse programme of Mozart to Massenet- no need to tell these kids that classical music is magical! It's perfect as the children can listen for as long as they want then pop off for a bit of a run around and return later when it suits them. There's nothing more off putting for a child than having to sit through something as long as a concert, it's much better if they can enjoy it in manageable bite size chunks.
The classical programmes are well thought out with musicians of a very high standard from all over London and are a wonderful introduction to orchestral instruments for kids. The concert lasts about an hour and includes 10 mins at the end of singalong nursery rhymes just to round it all off. There's nothing like a bit of Incy Wincy Spider after some Chopin I think... None of the stuffy sitting still and not clapping in the right places .... You're exposing your child to the very best classical music in the most positive environment. " It's about Mozart and Bach, feeding and crying, and dancing to music - all of it," says Miaomiao (founder of Bach to Baby) "We haven't made it through a concert without at least one nappy change. That's the way it should be," she says. How refreshing to be able to take your child along to a concert of great classical music that is not just a brilliant experience for kids but uplifting for parents too. Coffee, tea, juice and biscuits are on sale and baby changing facilities are well organised. Tickets are £10 for adults- children go free.
Well done Miaomiao. If only one were able to enjoy classical music concerts this much in the grown up world!
Bach to Baby concerts are held in 20 venues across London including Borough, Clapham, Dulwich Village, Greenwich, Hammersmith, Hampstead, Highgate, Islington, Notting Hill, Pimlico, St John's Wood & Maida Vale, Tulse Hill and Wimbledon. Check out to how to book the one nearest you at www.bachtobaby.com