Christmas is coming, and what should you buy for the kids in your life? I’d like to make the case for event-focused gifts. Let’s face it: many, if not most, kids here in the US have so many toys that they’ve become so much rubble to them. Will another toy make a big difference to the average child? Will he/she be playing with it once the new year arrives?
Music: A Gift to Treasure
Long ago, I became a fan of “experience gifts” such as zoo or museum memberships or symphony tickets. As a teacher, I know the importance of exposing kids to as many experiences as possible while they’re young. Put away the toys and take your kids out to a petting zoo. Buy tickets to a symphony concert. If you can’t afford those, just take them to the grocery store! Even experiences that seem mundane to us as adults are fascinating and new to young people. And stretch your kids — and yourself — a bit by exposing them to experiences you may not personally have chosen. You are planting a seed, and who knows where and how that seed will grow for your child?
Carmel Symphony Tickets
Recently I was able to attend a concert by the Carmel Symphony. It was a true delight for the senses! The musicians were world-class and the music (in my case, Verdi’s Requiem) was sublime. The venue — The Palladium in Carmel — was a dream as well. The acoustics were wonderful, and I would have loved more time to explore the building itself. It is a real treasure for the community. I just kept imagining that as great as my enthusiasm was, it would be even greater for a child.
Symphony tickets would make a great Christmas gift!
Family Fun Concert
Of particular note is the Family Fun Concert, coming up March 29. This Sunday afternoon concert is the perfect introduction to the symphony for kids. Children are invited onto the stage to sit among musicians as they play excerpts from some widely-known classical themes. After the concert, there’s a petting zoo — with instruments rather than animals. What fun kids could have, drawing a bow across a violin, or trying out a drum.
The Gift of Beautiful Music
There are upcoming concerts that will interest teens and adults as well, no matter what their tastes in music. The Texas Tenors, Bernstein and Gershwin, Tchaikovsky — you name it. Check out the full schedule!
A Gift for a Lifetime
When I was teaching, I always played a classical music CD as the kids came into class. One day, a student came up to me and asked, “Why don’t you ever play country music for us?” I told him that I wanted him to learn about a different type of music. I loved exposing my rural students to some of music’s greats. During my first year teaching, in 1990, I took a group of students to our local symphony for a concert. Last year, I went to the funeral home because a former student’s grandmother had died. When he saw me, the first thing he said was, “I still remember you taking us to that orchestra concert!” It had been 25 years ago.
Toys break, food gets eaten, knick knacks end up in the donate box. But the inspiration from music continues on and on. This Christmas, who can you surprise with the gift of beautiful music?