Q: What inspired the creation of the Music for the Young and Young at Heart program?
Over the years, people have requested that I give a concert for young people - many of whom had never been to a concert and were therefore “giving classical music a try.” I found that with careful choice of musical selections (nothing too long or too slow!), and brief, non-technical, spoken introductions to each short piece, children stayed engaged, appreciative, and enjoyed the experience. Often, the children were accompanied by parents and/or grandparents who were hearing THEIR first classical music piano concert. To their surprise, they found that they also enjoyed this "new" classical music and it inspired them, and their children, to want to listen to great music again.
Q: How did you choose the particular musical compositions included in the program?
The music I will be briefly introducing and then playing will be a program of popular, famous, and familiar short pieces - everything from Mozart's Variations on “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” to the dizzy “Flight of the Bumblebee,” to Chopin's humorous "Cat Waltz,” to Scott Joplin's beloved “Maple Leaf Rag.” As with all Keyboard Conversations® programs, this event will conclude with a short Q & A in which the audience is encouraged to participate.
Q: Why do you think these programs are valuable for young audiences?
For a person to have the joy of music in their lives, it is helpful to have initial pleasant, engaging, listening experiences- and this goes for adults as well as children! In the impersonal, computer-driven age in which we live, the need for what great music offers a human being is greater than ever. It has been most gratifying for me as a concert pianist to bring and cultivate the joy of music to people through these accessible, inviting Keyboard Conversations® programs.
Q: Do you have memories of inspiring the joys of music to your children?
As my children were growing up, there was constantly classical music heard in our home. However, there is a difference between hearing and listening. When my children were young, they would attend the Music for the Young and Young at Heart program, and they found that my choice of musical compositions and my spoken introduction to each piece greatly increased their enjoyment of the music. My daughter and son are now lifelong, adult music lovers.
Q: What advice do you give for families who wish to inspire their children to enjoy classical music?
To have great music in one's life is indeed a great gift; one that every parent should wish to provide for his children, and himself! It is most important that the initial concert experiences be engaging and joyful- enough to inspire a desire to hear more great music in the future.
Before or after you attend the concert, make sure to check out the new paint job Squiggles got while we were temporarily closed! This 21-year-old “seasaurus” is the star of our accessible playground and received a Technicolor paint job by original artist Bill Gian and son.
Squiggles getting a makeover last summer, photo by Leslie Simon