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6 December 2019, 17:17 | Updated: 7 December 2019, 11:34
Here are a few tips to support and encourage your little ones in their journeys and encounters with music and the arts.
Concerts, family theatre, ballet, pantos – any live performance designed for families goes. In a busy, always-connected world, it's easy to lose sight of the joy of live performance, and just how much is out there.
A show might help reveal that budding actor in your family; the ballet a keen dancer; or at an orchestral concert, the percussion enthusiast.
Details of events near you are just a Google away. A few that come to mind in the classical world are Wigmore Hall's Family Events, the Liverpool Phil's Family Concerts or, in churches and halls around the country, Bach to Baby, where some of the country's best musicians play informal concerts for babies, toddlers and parents.
This isn't about starting violin lessons, or speech and drama school, but about planting those creative seeds wherever they can grow. Musical toys in the house, dress-ups, dancing, reading. Play classical music in the house, listen to audiobooks.
Most of this is about fostering a spirit of trying new things, being expressive, pushing those creative boundaries, and forming fun, positive associations with artistic things.
We know every day is busy, and finding moments of calm are often difficult, but never underestimate the power of taking a little moment, no matter how short. If you and your child are walking past a mural in the street, or passing a good busker, or see a picture in someone's house, take a moment to stop and take it in. Talk about how it makes you feel and why (even if it just takes five seconds).
I doesn't need to be a profound moment, or even educational – it's about finding those seeds wherever they may be.
Every child is different, and so is every instrument. There's no set age to start learning and no rules about what they should learn first. If your little one does show an interest, talk about it, explore options and start the process. Remember it's a positive, creative, individual thing that can't be forced too much. Good teachers are key, but there's lots of support and resources out there for budding instrumentalists and singers at all stages.
Music and art is about creating, but most of all it's about the people you meet, the things you learn and the friendships you make along the way. It's about creating passions, not professions. And maybe that passion will shape their entire life.
The greatest gifts are the ones that last a lifetime.
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