5 Best Choirs, Music Classes & Courses

african choir

I know that there are 101 reasons why kids love music, but I’ll start with the first 5 that come to mind … it’s noisy, fun, they dance, sing and are able to pick it up like a second language. The regular Bus Stoppers will know by now, that we are aware that time is short when trying to plan family adventures, and that we like to be ahead of the pack. So, here’s a look at what’s on offer for those of you that like to get out and about and pack your triangle and bassoon.

I am sure we are only just scratching the surface of what is really going on out there for families, so please leave a comment if you have something to share, or just want to promote a brilliantly creative musician who gives up their weekends just for the love of it. For those of you that want extra reading to take home after this lecture (!) here is a resource titled What is the best way for my child to learn music? from the charity Youth Music, which is a very interesting bedtime read. (Picture credit : African Children’s Choir : Max Clements)

As well as the information on venues below you should also check out what’s on at KIngs Place in Kings Cross, Cadogan Hall in Chelsea (see below too), The Barbican , and The London Musical Arts Orchestra at St Martins in the Fields who have a special Mini Maestros Family Concert series for kids aged 4 to 12yrs. Not forgetting the esteemed Royal Academy of Music, which has a range of external events performed by Academy Students. They also run Saturday classes, and holiday courses. Also, for the month of October take a look at the Family Arts site whose aim is to promote family arts engagement (yippee), where you will find a huge resource of arts events for kids across the UK. You can also catch the UK tour of The African Children’s Choir, which ends in early November.

royal albert hall

1. ROYAL ALBERT HALL : FAMILY PERFORMANCES

The Royal Albert Hall in Kensington, which is a minutes walk from ‘child heaven’ with The V&A, The Science Museum, The Natural History Museum, Hyde Park and The Royal Geographical Society, is a spectacular location for any performance. They host a range of family events, which is best found from their website here. You will find events like the Family ignite concerts held in the Hall’s Elgar Room, Disney Fantasia concerts, the schools proms, various charity concerts, and the famous Jingle Bell Christmas concerts, Messiah,  and the Christmas Carol Singalong.

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2. LSO (London Symphony Orchestra)

A great way to introduce your children to music and the orchestra is to bring them along to one of our concerts or events for families. From babies to age 12, they have a variety of suitable events including Family Concerts, Early Years Workshops and Family Saturday Mornings. Families with children aged over 12 might like to try the scheme LSO Backstage Pass, which includes specially priced tickets for Barbican concerts and a pre-concert talk from LSO musicians giving an insight into the music.

Performances are split into ages U5’s, 5+, 7+, 12+, 15+. They have a family concert ‘Witches’ for Halloween on Sunday 27.October for 7-12 year olds, which also has a craft session in the foyer and creche. For those aged 5+ there are the Friday afternoons at 6pm at LSO St Luke’s Britten’s ‘Friday Afternoon’ Songs.  Written by Benjamin Britten in the 1930s for his headmaster brother and his pupils, these 12 cheeky songs are revived by some of LSO Discovery’s younger participants.

Not forgetting the

Story-telling concert for under-5s on Friday 22 Nov 10.30am, LSO St Luke’s, where early Years expert Vanessa King and LSO musicians re-tell a popular children’s story through music. Join in with all the songs and play musical games.

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3. THE FORGE MUSIC & ARTS VENUE

 Children’s Interactive Music Workshops

These sessions alternate Saturday mornings are a great way to introduce and encourage your children aged 1-4 years into music. Run by experienced workshop leaders, activities include singing, dancing, rhythm work, movement and percussion playing. Drop in:  £6 online / £7 on the door Full Half Term pre-booking (£5 per session) – cash or cheque made out to ‘Forge Arts CIC’ on the first session. You can also choose Children’s Storytelling with Music which are enchanting sessions of storytelling and live music – come and rediscover some of the nation’s favourite children’s stories and bring them to life with songs and music.  Featuring classic works like The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, these are a lovely experience for all the family! Drop in:  £6 online / £7 on the door. Full Half Term pre-booking (£5 per Session).

Imagination Station : The weekly drop in Imagination Station sessions on Wednesday mornings offers toddlers aged 4 months to 2 yrs a unique music and movement experience.  With classes devised to work through the senses, your little ones will be nurtured in confidence, creativity, music and movement, independence and early age social skills.  Let the fun of learning begin! Classes are on Wednesday mornings. For enquiries about Imagination Station please contact Ema or visit their website phone: 07525 154 964 email: emajane.ritchie@gmail.com or try Bach to Baby, The critically acclaimed concert series for babies, tots and carers comes to The Forge. Experience exhilarating performances by outstanding musicians with your baby in tow. Children can crawl, dance, roam about, and listen to music the way they feel it.  A true family concert suitable for all ages. The concerts are one-hour long, and are held monthly on a Thursday at The Forge. Online discounts available:  www.bachtobaby.com/tickets

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4. ORCHESTRA OF THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT (OAE)

These family concerts are very popular, so we advise booking up now, even for the Feb 2014 concert. The concerts with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) offer a chance to get a little closer to that experience. The OAE keep the experience authentic by using period instruments and musical techniques from the day to recreate the sound-world the composer would have known. The performances are suitable for ages two to five (and parents!). Little people aged two and over require tickets. Tots aged younger than two go free, provided they do not need their own seat. The next concerts are on 30 November at 9.30 and 11am in the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre. £9 for adults, £1 for tots with a £1.75 booking fee.

suzuki institute

5. SUZUKI INSTITUTE : PERFORMANCES

The Suzuki Method of music education is based on the philosophy and teaching methods developed by the Japanese violinist, pedagogue, educator and humanitarian, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. The goal of Dr. Suzuki was to enrich people’s lives and make them more understanding and sensitive human beings. He developed a method of music education to enable children to play music to their highest possible level of ability.  The Suzuki UK institute based in Chiswick, oversees teacher training and also organises Workshops, National Concerts, Summer Schools, Graduation, and Conferences. Below is a list of some of the up and coming performances that are all children led.

 

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5. (and a half) : CADOGAN HALL

A top line up of events are waiting for you at Cadogan Hall (minutes from Sloane Square) and home to The London Philharmonic Orchestra. Check the link above for the full listings & booking info, but as we are here to wet your appetite, I can tell you that you can choose from the Noisy Notes Family Concert with Sue Perkins on 29/10 at 11am which includes West End stars and music from Harry Potter, The Simpsons and the rest is a secret! Or the popular Crash Bang Wallop! Family Concert : The Mad Professor on 2/11 at 12pm. The English Chamber Orchestra present a concert on 17/11 at 3pm with presenter Claire Bloor who has been conducting experiments in her music lab and you’re invited to hear music by some of the most well known classical music composers. For Christmas there is The Childrens Trust Christmas Concert on 2/12 at 7.30pm and on Friday 20/12 at 3.30pm The Snow Queen and The Griffin and the Grail : Magical Musical Adventures told through songs, narration (the award-winning Olivia Colman) and projections, two magical adventures promising an unforgettable musical event for all the family. Find your tinsel and get booking.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. dorsetfidget says:

    Another project for your list is Adventures in Music at Plymouth Museum. It’s a series of world and folk music events for under 5s and their grown ups, featuring live music and lots of participation.

    More info here – http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/museummusic

    Like

    1. MamaLondon says:

      Thanks for this info Danielle, exactly what i was looking for.

      Like

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