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Get your kids into music

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

With so many pop and idol groups in Japan, classical music is often neglected when it comes to kids’ preferences in music. But, perhaps surprisingly, infants and toddlers have been found to respond just as positively to works such as Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and Mozart’s piano sonatas.

Concerts for Kids — Classical Music from Age Zero, is a nationwide series of musical experiences aimed specifically at children and organized by the Sony Music Foundation. There’s no age limit to join an event and each concert introduces pre-school children, even newborns, to a repertoire of classical pieces. An hour-long, the show also has interactive elements designed to entertain through dancing and learning to move to sounds. The performers introduce kids to a wide variety of rhythms and explain the instruments used in the sessions, with the upcoming Tokyo show at The Millenium hall in Taito Ward teaching kids about the violin, cello, trumpet and piano.

For older kids who may be keen to learn more, there is also a series of Concerts for Kids aimed at those aged 3 and above. These involve longer compositions that require more concentration and include theatrical works and extra educational content. The next such concert will be held in Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture, in September.

The first Concert for Kids — back in 1999 — was based on the idea that classical music benefits both baby and mother during pregnancy. Now aimed at kids of all ages, the events are always held at facilities that have diaper-changing and breast-feeding rooms, and parents are able to come and go as they need to during performances. After the Millenium Hall, the next Concert for Kids (from age zero) will be held on on Aug. 27, in Oita in Oita Prefecture.

Concert for Kids — Classical Music from Age Zero takes place at the Millenium Hall in Taito Ward’s Lifelong Learning Center. Tickets are ¥2,000 and ¥1,000 for elementary school and younger children. For more information, call 03-5227-5233 (weekdays, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.), or visit www.smf.or.jp/concert/age0_140709/ (Japanese).