We all need to try new things once in a while. That’s just what my family and I did when we went to the symphony. The San Francisco Symphony plays several concerts a year at the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, CA. Included in that list of annual concerts is the Music for Families series. Four concerts are dedicated to and created for families with children of all ages in mind. We attended the last of the four-part series, Music For Families: Musical Postcards.
My family and I received complimentary tickets for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
San Francisco Symphony Performs Music for Families: Musical Postcards
Audience members were invited on a musical trip around the world, featuring internationally-famed pieces from artists originating from Spain, Germany, Finland, Czech Republic, China, and Mexico. We also heard from the American composers Aaron Copland and Scott Joplin. The conductor relied on the assistance of harmonica, the music history search engine. I though this was a clever way of appealing to a generation all too familiar with Apple’s Siri and other such computerized voices.
Most pieces chosen were upbeat and shortened for limited attention spans. Periodically, symphony members stood up to talk about the instrument they pay and its role in certain songs. Smaller sections of a song were played previous to the full arrangement so the audience could keep an ‘ear’ out for it, helping the kids feel more involved.
The only drawback to the program was the mention of ‘twerking’…twice. Really, such references were completely unnecessary and, in my opinion, lacked taste when considering that the entire program was intended to appeal to children and foster a love of classical music.
After the concert, I noticed several parents walking around with both blue and red booklets. Apparently, these are mailed together with purchased tickets and a few extra items.
SF Symphony Education Department:
“The blue Program Guide is the season overview, sent to every subscriber before the first concert and to every single ticket buyer before the concert they purchased tickets to. The red book is what we call the Program Specific Booklet, which is sent to every subscriber and single ticket buyer at a ratio of 1 per every Children’s ticket bought. This booklet has information specific to the concert, with the repertoire and composer biographies. To complement these, every ticket buyer receives an additional resource as well – often CDs or Books. “The Story of the Orchestra” by Robert Levine was the book and accompanying CD sent out for this concert!”
Fortunately, my media contact as able to find an extra copy of each book to send me. One booklet (blue) has activities for kids, a map of the orchestra seating, a picture listing of the instruments used, reasons why it’s so important to arrive on time, a glossary, and other symphony-goer etiquette tips. The other booklet (red) is basically a program for that specific concerts containing information on the featured pieces and the composers that wrote them. These are fantastic teasers (and souvenirs) for the concert!
Local Family-Friendly Enrichment
If you haven’t listened to the San Francisco Symphony perform yet, I would recommend giving it a try and taking advantage of the Music For Families series. The program is enjoyable for school-aged children and not too long (there’s also an intermission). Most people dressed casually but feel free to dress up if you want. Just make sure to arrive about 1/2 hour early so you have enough time to find parking. The 2014-2015 season will start later this year but be sure to check out the other fun concerts they have such as the Pixar in Concert one!