Climbing Mount Music

Ideas for Making a Musical Life

Toddler at the TSO (Toronto Symphony Orchestra)

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I decided to break the rules and take my 2 year old to one of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Young People’s Concerts.  We had a great time!  At one point Evan leaned over the chair in front and said “this is cool”.  Is there anything more wonderful than watching a child light up to a new experience?  And music is such an easy pleaser for all children.

The TSO recommends their Young People’s concerts to kids between the ages of 5 and 12.  I seriously considered this before I decided to take Evan.  I found myself feeling totally indignant about this age suggestion.  Kids start instruments at 3 and 4 and the best way to get them interested in playing is to show them what is possible.  “Five is too old I was thinking” as I brought Evan in the front doors of Roy Thompson Hall last Saturday.  And then he pooped.  Somehow the combination of classical music and poop doesn’t seem likely but add a two year old and you’ve got a problem.  In my excitement, not only did I forget to actually bring any diapers, I realized there would be no change tables!  We managed, but take note parents, Roy Thompson is ill equipped for diaper changes.

What are the biggest fears one might have about bringing a toddler to a concert?


Well, when I bought the tickets (which are amazingly inexpensive to hear a professional orchestra – ours were $18) I reasoned with myself that there was a risk we would have a bad day and we would simply have to leave.  When you realize you can just leave, it makes it seem a lot more possible.  I decided that yes I was willing to pay a small amount for however many minutes we’d last for this experience! I also made sure that Evan was well slept and well fed before we went.

Talking/Yelling at Awkward Moments

Evan was in a state of quiet awe for a lot of the time which was amazing because he normally never shuts up.  There were a couple of outbursts which made me nervous and made the little girl in front of us turn around and say “shhh” to him but then I listened around me and kids were talking all over the place.  We were in good company!

This is a safe space for kids to express themselves about what they are hearing.  It would be even more safe and welcoming if the age restriction was widened a bit TSO!  I see there is a very serious and formal message in the FAQ section on the TSO website for it to be at the parents’ discretion.  This makes complete sense but shouldn’t the message be more on the side of welcoming all children to come and enjoy the city’s highest level of music making?  To parents I say, bring them at all ages!


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