A two-week-long Halloween festival has come to an end. Maia had a blast and Leia was happy to tag along for Baby’s First Halloween. On top of several activities, we had a theme party at our house, also to celebrate my husband’s birthday. A group of talented Opera singers joined us to perform a 80 minutes version of “The Phantom of the Opera”. Our guests are glamorously dressed up with masquerade inspired Halloween costume (or THE actual thing, which are tuxedo and evening gown). It was a magical evening. And here is a 5 minutes hightlight.
More interestingly, I got many queries about “Opera know how”i.e. How to appreciate? Where to start? What shows to go? How to introduce Opera or Classical music to the little kiddos?…to something even more hardcore like – is it too late to learn to sing Opera?… These are easy questions for professional musicians or Opera singers to address, however, I am taking an outside-in approach, from an non music professional, a regular mom however a music lover point of view.
I always enjoyed theater, especially with a B.A. in Film & TV (…and why did I become a banker?!). However, Opera music meant a different thing before I met my husband. In the past, I would go to a good Opera once a year, tops. Now, we go to 15 operas a year! In the past, I fell asleep at some opera, it would completely lose me when a soprano sings for 20 minutes about how much she loves ONE flower. Now I am armed enough knowledge to decide what Opera I like to see. E.G. Verdi & Puccini always work for me, and no offense, but I would be very careful to agree to go to a German composer’s show🙂
Now opera music has become part of our family life and is a good influence on both Maia & Leia. We like to party and we have musician friends around, which also promotes girls’ interest in singing & dancing. Hundreds of years of Opera history has much positive impact if you could pick up the pieces that make sense to you.
Kids are drawn to dramatic movements and sounds, so “The Queen of the Night” (The Magic Flute) impresses them, and it is also my favorite arias (who doesn’t like to feel the highest). Play it 3 times in one go, turn it to the MAX volume that you could afford in your own house setting not bothering your neighbors, for a while, your kids will start to practice their voice at home or on the street, singing “L’amour….l’amour….”
If I have a sluggish day, and I need to reset my mind, I listen to “Libiamo” (La Traviata), it cheers me up for a party mood and I am on the go again.
Turning up “Nessun Dorma” with Pavarotti, it makes me believe in love and romance (again), particularly after a long weekend with diapers and messy house. If it doesn’t work for you, play it 5 times, if it still doesn’t work, email me, I will invite you to our next private event, LOL.
Who could deny the fact that “Carmen”makes all the women feel like Hot Mama all over again🙂
There are lots of proven benefits linking classical music and child brain development , so I don’t want to reclaim them, however, I want to share some playlists here as the takeaways:
My new favorite, although the concert is old, the impact would remain for century. Very few of us could have time to sit down to play for the entire 2 hours, but just leave it is as your background music for a while…and this is for everyone –
“The Three Tenors” Concert, Los Angeles, 1994
Now here are the experts’ inputs:
Codrut Birsan, our good friend, who is the owner of “Chicago Summer Opera”, in my view, the BEST Pianist in town, who is also the international famous voice teacher, here is his playlist for kiddos to share –
The Magic Flute by Mozart with a BBC Animation
El Barbero de Sevilla (Bugs Bunny Animation)
Here are a few more classical music picks for children from Lisa Zilberman, our good friend who is a GREAT Pianist, Lisa is also on the Piano Faculty at Music Institute of Chicago and DePaul University School of Music –
“Carnival of the Animals” by Saint-Saens
Also anything Mozart is what she recommends, and here is my pick –
“Mozart for Babies Brain Development”
Look, in the end, just like us…I like Bon Jovi for workout, and kids will start to pick their favorite pop music and listen to whatever they like with a pair of headsets on, and communication becomes very limited. My mother is a Piano teacher, although I failed to play well, I am a big believer in classical music’s ability to change mood and create a wonderful setting for children, and most importantly, for the entire family, as a package.
Now, turn up the volume! And join our next music event here!