Taking kids to the orchestra

The perfect place to sit would be a bit further forward

If you’re thinking of taking your kids to listen to the orchestra, and you’re not sure where the best seats are, read on.

An orchestra is like a well-oiled machine … timing, rhythm and accuracy are almost everything. Heart is the one thing a machine doesn’t have … an orchestra does, every single part of it.

Although I’m quite happy to sit in any place of the auditorium, my favourite spot is the one that has an overview of the orchestra. Just as in this photo – although I do like to be further forward. I grew to favour this spot when my children were young I was trying to interest them in orchestral music.

You can see everything from this perspective. You can watch every instrument, see how it’s played, observe when the the musician prepares for his or her entry, and watch them as they follow the lead of the conductor. You can hear the sound each of the instruments makes, whether playing solo or in partnership with others. Of course, for boys, the real excitement comes when the drums roll, the cymbals clash and thunder breaks out in the percussion section.

Personally, I just love watching the conductor – some of them literally dance on their podium. Years ago, I was privileged to sing in a choir under the directorship of german-born Rita Paczian. In concert she always wore a very unstructured jacket for ease of movement. Friends always commented after he concert how graceful and beautiful her movements were and how mesmerising.

During the Mahler, when I wasn’t busy counting bars for our next entry, I was fascinated by Maestro Ashkenazy’s style. He was incredibly expressive – the music flowing through his whole body.

Seats above the orchestra, as close to the front as possible, are the absolute best for kids. They need to see as well as hear and they need to connect what they’re seeing with what they’re hearing.

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