From our earliest days, even before birth, we respond to music. Studies suggest that a baby will respond to sound by the beginning of the third trimester and can distinguish different types of music by the middle of the third trimester. As children, exposure to different types of music can aid in cognitive and language skills development, with particular promise for non-English speaking students or those from lower socio-economic environments struggling with language difficulties. An appreciation of music permeates every academic discipline, from the math inherent in notes and measures to the science of the sound produced by musical instruments or the language of an Italian aria.

Today’s children can easily identify the latest hits of the hot pop stars of the moment, but few have had exposure to classical music and instruments. In most of our schools, budget cuts have stripped music education. As people who love music, we have an opportunity to make the study and appreciation of music relevant for our young people.

We think the Holiday and Pops concerts are accessible to children and young people because there is plenty of action and stimulus to entertain a young audience. The Masterworks concerts are entirely up to your discretion. If your child is able to sit quietly, then please bring them.

Making the Decision

Here are three things we’d like you to know when making the decision whether to bring your family or not:

1. We truly want your children with us. This is exactly how the next generation of audience members is cultivated and we are grateful for your help in fostering a love of music in your children. It’s OK if they fall asleep or if you need to leave a little early. Your intuition will be your best guide in creating a wonderful concert experience for them.

2. We are happy to make seating arrangements for your family. If you believe that aisle seats or seats towards the back of the concert hall will help, just call us at the Philharmonic office (570-270-4444) and we will be happy to accommodate you. Of course, we need to know in advance of the concert.

3. We suggest turning concert attendance into an event for your family. This will make the experience more fun and memorable. It may be as simple as going out for an ice cream cone or pizza after the concert. Words to the wise: if your child does not have a good experience attending a concert, please give them a rest before trying again. We do not want to turn music into a punishment!