Scottish Chamber Orchestra present parent and baby concerts

Scottish Chamber Orchestra present parent and baby concerts

Big Ears, Little Ears series brings Beethoven’s 7th Symphony to daytime slot

It’s never too young to start listening to music, but for the babies, toddlers and their parents who want more than ‘Twinkle Twinkle’, the live orchestral experience isn’t one usually on offer. Putting that to rights is the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and their new pilot series of concerts, Big Ears, Little Ears, where parents, carers and babies can enjoy live classical music in the concert hall without feeling any embarrassed pressure to stifle the odd cry or whimper.

‘From the orchestra’s point of view,’ says conductor Howard Moody, himself a father of three offspring, ‘music is there to be shared by everybody, but parents can be scared to take young children to concerts.’ The impact of live music on people of all ages who may not have experienced it before can be astonishing and, says Moody, ‘whether a young child is responding consciously or unconsciously doesn’t really matter.’

The concerts are short – 45 minutes – and in the morning, so practical for parents, and music is mainly well known classics with some Scots songs sung by mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, a regular SCO guest artist and mum to a toddler. ‘My first thoughts were to programme peaceful and gentle music,’ says Moody, ‘but research shows that lively music brings immediate attention, so we are doing both. We have the last movement of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, which is immensely powerful, and might actually sound better with a bit of background noise!’ The folk songs – Fidgety Bairn, Britten’s setting of Burns’ Highland Balou and Ye Banks and Braes – are ones which parents can sing themselves. ‘It’s the music of the audience’s ancestors,’ says Moody, ‘and must be there somewhere in their gene pool. Mothers and fathers can join in, take them away and sing to their children again.’

SCO, St Andrews in the Square, Glasgow, Tue 27 Sep; Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Wed 28 Sep (sold out); macrobert, Stirling, Thu 29 Sep

Big Ears, Little Ears

In the classical music equivalent of a parent & baby screening, the SCO plays a short concert of much-loved classics in a baby-friendly environment; nobody will raise an eyebrow if your little one provides vocal encouragement.

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