Classical music for kids is a wonderful idea, but is it really for tiny toddlers and screaming infants? Should parents not just be sticking to nursery rhymes and playing it safe? Professional viola player Kate Skeet believes that age should not be a barrier to music education. She has enjoyed instrumental music all her life and didn't want it to stop when her boy Ben was born two years ago. However, she found that although baby friendly concerts are springing up all over the place in London, Cheltenham was sadly lacking in proper classical concerts where children were truly welcome and encouraged to enjoy and 'feel' the music.
At this point thankfully Fate intervened in the form of the director of the Cheltenham Music Festival director. He came to Kate when a last minute lunchtime slot became available in the Festival and asked her to put her music where her mouth was and put on a concert of chamber music for children and parents. Music appreciation for children can start at the very youngest age and don't be fooled into thinking you child can only appreciate nursery rhymes. Lovely though Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is, there's a world of music out there that little ones will absorb in the blink of an eye and learn to love. The ever resourceful Kate has drawn on her pool of professional local (unflappable!) musician friends and puts on regular 'Lilliput concerts' now with varying combinations of instruments ranging from duets to quintets. “The atmosphere is relaxed, the music is high quality but concentrating on short pieces for short attention spans." says Kate.
Kate starts each concert with the request that those who are old enough to listen in peace and quiet try to do so, but that it's just fine for the little ones to dance, crawl around or have their nappy changed if need be. “The babies seem to be mesmerised by the music but nobody minds if they start to sing along or dance or wander about,” and delicious refreshments are also provided so really everyone is a winner....
The concerts take place in St Andrew’s church hall in Montpellier, start at 10.30am and last for around 40 minutes. Tickets cost £5 for an adult and child. Check out when the next one is on at the Lilliput Concerts Facebook page or on Twitter @Lilliputconcert