What’s the Right Age for Kids to Attend ‘Adult’ Concerts?

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Kids at a Young People's Concert by the New York Philharmonic
A Young People’s Concert by the New York Philharmonic (NYPhil.org)

October 30, 2014

An incident involving a conductor, a mother and her young kid at a concert in Miami Beach, Florida caused a stir in October 2014. The conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas, stopped a concert by the New World Symphony Orchestra because, he said, a young girl in his line of sight was fidgeting and causing a significant distraction. He asked them to move but the mom and her child did more than that — they abruptly left the hall.

This edition of Conducting Business looks at the questions: what is the appropriate age for kids to attend grown-up concerts? And how should they be prepared for the experience?

Host Naomi Lewin speaks with three guests:

  • Orli Shaham, a pianist, mother of twins and artistic director of Baby Got Bach, a concert series intended for kids ages 3 to 6.
  • Sedgwick Clark the editor of Musical America and a steadfast concert-goer around New York.
  • Susan Fox, a founder and publisher of the online forum Park Slope Parents.

Also discussed are tips for parents who are considering bringing their children to a concert. They include:

  • Select an aisle seat, preferably near the door.
  • Bring chewing gum.
  • Start with shorter concerts.
  • Teach them to sit with boredom.