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Save a cello, get kids stuck on music

Save a cello, get kids stuck on music

As our kids make their way through the education system, it’s important to remember that we’ve forgotten much of what we were taught.

The map of Australia rendered from salt-flour dough for a stunning 3D effect was green and had lots of topographical details. That’s about all I recall from that Grade 5 project, although at the time I could have rhymed off all manner of Aussie geographical facts.

There are snippets of school lessons that stick in our brains. Stuck in some region of my grey matter is a statement made by my Grade 8 music teacher who asserted that sound synthesizers could take the place of music produced by actual musical instruments. No more cellos or flutes or violins.

Her words stuck for many reasons. Her pronouncement was rash and it was devastating to a young music lover. She had to be wrong and surely there would not be a musical apocalypse.

Miss Brown was wrong of course. Perhaps it was an inflammatory statement, intended to make us consider the colossal loss that would result from her prediction. Perhaps she dreamed of an inferno into which she would fling our annoying wooden recorders that massacred music en-mass with squeaks and squawks instead of sweet woodwind sounds. The end of musical instruments would save her from that weekly torture.

That was the early ‘70s so it’s safe to say that synthesizers can indeed coexist with oboes. We suffer through auto-tuned voices but are soothed with the knowledge that pure, natural voices prevail.

While musical instruments aren’t facing extinction, classical music struggles to be accessible to new generations. That’s why orchestras present mini concerts and ensembles to perform for kids. My boys were quite young when they met Big Bertha the up-right bass at an intimate presentation by some members of the Kitchener Symphony Orchestra.

The kids were invited to touch the instruments, ask the musicians questions and get a better understanding of their passion for the instrument and the music they played.

There are so many opportunities to expose kids to music of all kinds, from musicals to concerts to music lessons. Check out our calendar listings for events in your area. If you can’t make it to a concert, take a musical journey with YouTube and watch some kid-friendly performances with your children. Little ones love to gallop around the house to “The William Tell Overture”. Great exercise for adults too.

Expose them to lots of music and something is sure to stick. Save a cello.