There are amazing benefits to cultivating an appreciation for music while learning an instrument, and there are fun ways to do so! Attending live performances is a huge way to grow a budding musician’s appreciation and knowledge of music and music performance.
The benefits of attending music performances.
1. Learning opportunities.
One can learn a lot from a live concert setting, whether it's taking in the sounds of a vast instrumentation, or learning from the nuances at a small setting where the style might be slightly more relaxed and up-close. I remember seeing Sara Watkins, a bluegrass fiddler and singer, perform several years ago, and I was struck by how frequently she re-tuned her violin. From this I took away two informative ideas: re-tuning instruments frequently throughout a long performance is important, and a performer can take the opportunity while tuning to keep the crowd engaged with friendly banter and comments. And this is just one example of things to be learned; one can observe the brands of instruments, types of sound gear, playing techniques of the musicians, and more. Gathering such information can inspire more research and add incredibly to learning one’s instrument.
2. Developing a critical ear.
A strong ear is a crucial asset to a musician. Live music performance is a wonderful context for developing one’s ear and can provide a helpful comparison to the recorded music we hear everyday. A student may ask: “How does this artist perform this song differently from how they recorded it? Are there different or fewer instruments present? Does it sound like it is in the same key as the recorded work?” Also, at a live performance, one might notice a sour note or a missed beat (even professional musicians make these mistakes). A student can observe how the musician handled it and see that music is still beautiful when “flaws” are present and that it is okay to make mistakes!
I’ve found that when I discover an artist I really enjoyed hearing live, I get a new dose of inspiration. You may notice your child singing a bit more and becoming eager to create or perform music as soon as they can. They may want to look up YouTube videos of the artist they saw perform and discover a variety of other musicians with whom he or she collaborated. Soon, they’re experiencing the excitement that new music brings and a reminder as to why music is such a wonderful gift. How fantastic it is to see a child inspired to practice, instead of treating it like a chore!
4. It’s fun for the whole family.
An evening of family time can be made out of hitting the town and enjoying live music together. This can lead to great conversations where each shares what they liked or disliked about performances and why. The “why” is a biggie, as it pushes a music listener into thinking deeper and growing in one’s ability to articulate thoughts about music.
Some recommendations to parents.
- Seek out performances in the community of performers of the student’s instruments of choice.
- Make attending a show a family night out, or a special parent-child bonding time.
- Explore a variety of music styles in the performances you choose to attend.
- Share with them some of your favorite music from when you were their age.
- Ask your student thought provoking questions about the performances they see, and watch as he/she falls more in love with music and grows as a musician!
Upcoming performances in the Indianapolis area worth checking out.
- Hear the score to “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” performed live with the movie by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Sunday October 30th at 3:00. https://www.indianapolissymphony.org/season
- Rock meets classical with R.E.M’s Mike Mills’ Concerto Saturday, November 5th at 8 pm at the Palladium. http://www.thecenterfortheperformingarts.org/tickets/production.aspx?PID=5269
- Verdi’s Requiem performed by the Carmel Symphony Orchestra and choirs from my alma mater, Anderson University. Saturday, November 12th at 7:30 at the Palladium. http://www.thecenterfortheperformingarts.org/tickets/production.aspx?PID=5098
- The Indy Folk Series concerts provides country, bluegrass, folk shows, and more! http://www.indyfolkseries.org/
- In the mood for some musical theater? Check out Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at Clowes Memorial Hall in Butler University’s Campus running November 15-19. Clowes is also hosting a wonderful Christmas series this year. http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/41111/806215brand=baa@camefrom=CFC_BAAIND_RHC_GOOGLESEM
- Hannah Stanford, Music Instructor at Vibe Music Academy, Hamilton County, Indiana