Concert, concert, concert

Can you guess what we did this week? Why yes-we saw a concert or three. Did you ever have one of those weeks of feeling great about the opportunities you can give your kids? Well-this has been my week, for more than one reason, to really appreciate how we are living our lives.

Our town has a music festival every year and they usually put on 8 to 10 concerts at lunch time. They are concerts for the up-and-coming artists, a chance for them to get some exposure. Exposure I think they all deserved. I’m not an expert on classical music, but I have as yet not been impressed by the performances. Monday’s performance was a piano recital from the winner of a piano competition which was held the day before. I can’t tell you for certain what he played as I never saw a playlist. He did get a huge applause from the audience, so I wasn’t alone in appreciating the talent!

On Wednesday we saw a String Quartet. I can tell you what they played-as I knew one of the pieces. They did the Quartet (in E I think) from Hayden, and then Mendelssohn’s Quartet in A (minor, I think). One of these days I’ll really know what I’m talking about! I have to say-I could listen to String Quartets all the time. I love the sound of all the string instruments-I don’t think I have a favourite, they all sound wonderful.

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I didn’t go to the concert on Friday as Michael ended up taking the day off. I’m sure I could have gotten an extra ticket-but it is nice for them to go places alone with him. Why should I have all the fun! None of us had seen a Saxophone Quartet before, and I thought it sounded interesting. It was as I thought, very enjoyable by all accounts. Michael was surprised by the range of saxophones, and I have to admit-I had no idea there were so many either.

I really enjoy bringing the kids to these types of shows, I’m so glad they can be exposed to so many talented individuals. I also like that they can see that there is a huge variety of things people can do in life. An example being-I knew there was a saxophone, but had no idea till now there was a range of them. The kids are now 35 years ahead of me in learning that bit of knowledge!

But I think I really like that we do these things because my two want to. It is something they enjoy, and I don’t have to ‘force’ cultural activities on them. They get so much enjoyment from the music and learning about the different sounds the instruments can make. I like that we can tailor this to their interests and tastes. I’m not dragging two children there against their will; I’m not forcing my taste onto them. We chose the String Quartet as it’s to Hazel’s (and mine) preference, Kieran likes the brass instruments, and we all like the piano. My two don’t need flashing lights and razzamatazz to be entertained, which seems to be getting rarer by the day.

The other thing this week that made me happy about our life, was reading Hazel’s travelling Brownie doll Daisy’s journal. I was appalled by the journal. The handwriting was ghastly and the entries were as dull as can be. This journal recorded weeks and weeks of ‘home’ visits. The doll was constantly ‘ill’ so she couldn’t do anything; she watched a zillion movies and played on the electronic game consoles even more. I couldn’t believe how many ‘lazy’ days of watching TV were written about. Really-these children should have been raring to go on the weekends-they were free of the school obligation, and yet they just veged out on the weekends. The only time they actually ‘did’ anything was during a couple of half-terms and a few visits to relatives houses. And by ‘did anything’ I’m not saying everyone should be heading to the nearest concert hall every weekend. But what about the parks, canal walks, the local museums, or exploring the local commons and nature reserves-these are free and accessible to all. Only one child recorded that they went to a park-and that was for a birthday party in the building.

It just made me extremely sad for these children. They seemed sapped of energy from school. It was as if they couldn’t think of anything to do with their free time, other than sit in front of some sort of electronic box. Mind you, I’m not against TV or movies, just the lack of any other activity in their days. Just made it hit home how rare a childhood my children are having.

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