I must cave in and say that ever since motherhood has startlingly been taking over, I found out that certain things seem to have left a sighing gap in my day to day leisure routine. Forget about whimsical quiet dinners at the corner family restaurant, forget about movie dates or any book launches where you can have an uninterrupted smart conversation with other cool adults who don’t have to disappear every 3 minutes to change a nappy or feed a hungry little mouth.
I’m a city mum. But not any city kind, I’m a London mum. This glorious buzzing city can be pretty jarring to your plan of raising a family in it, yet it can also offer so much more than you ever dreamt of if and only if you listen carefully to its fine calling perks. Just when I thought I had covered all baby and toddler rollicking activities and colourful experiences ever since this motherhood business put a spell on me a couple of years ago, enters Bach to Baby.
I woke up early on a Friday morning craving for some ‘me’ time, yet somehow not willing enough to leave my toddler behind. How could I? You know, as a parent it’s not always easy fighting those guilty motherhoody feelings…After being recommended to check out a Bach to Baby concert (as pure chance, yet good things always find a way to make themselves heard) I decided to give it a go. The idea of this experience was brilliant: a classical music concert for adults who were encouraged to bring along their offerings. Of course, it all made sense once I learnt there was a mum behind the project; both a mother and professional musician who went through the same stages like the rest of us, someone who saw this as a potential powerful learning tool for her children and who was not particularly thrilled she couldn’t take them with her to events and enjoy the thrills of music.I joined Docklands‘ event inside a tall gorgeous church building, where over 50 mothers and children gathered together to watch and interact with two talented musicians, one of a smart bassoon and the other of a charming piano while all mums and dads were feeding, rocking, snacking yet listening to the blissful sounds of music that only this type of concert could offer them. A treat indeed for sleepless eyes and hungry ears…
How did it all start? Miaomiao, an award-winning pianist, wanted to perform for her son in a concert setting, but found it unrealistic for many reasons, including the late nights. ‘And then I thought, this is silly: why not play for him and his friends and other babies and toddlers, at a kid-friendly time? The idea grew from there,’ said Miaomiao, who is also a professor of piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Bach to Baby now presents monthly concerts in over 45 venues across London, Surrey, Kent, Thames Valley and Essex, with special events at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace and the Royal Albert Hall.
‘I’ve been bringing my son Aubrey to concerts since he was 2 weeks old. He listened and slept and bounced to music,’ says the mother of two rambunctious boys. ‘He is enthralled, and proves my theory that children will thrive in a concert setting as long as they are given the opportunity in the first place.‘
And there’s more that I have learnt about this amazing concept. Instead of playing at modest community halls, venues with a specific sense of atmosphere were chosen. ‘I want babies to enjoy sophisticated music and that’s aided by fantastic atmosphere and acoustics, as well as fabulous guest artists,’ said Miaomiao, adding that exhausted parents deserve an inspiring setting as much as anyone.
Bach to Baby created exceptional classical music experiences for families by bringing outstanding musicians from the top concert stages to inspiring locations right on their doorsteps. The team thinks of everything a family needs – a warm welcome, baby-friendly facilities, and not forgetting fabulous coffee – so every concert is a memorable treat.Programming ranges from Bach to Barber, from Chopin to Shostakovich. ‘I didn’t want to dumb it down for children. Studies show the positive effects of classical music and children are like little sponges at this stage. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to experience the same high calibre performances as that enjoyed by adults in the best concert halls of the world?‘ asks Miaomiao.
Here’s the website for a calendar which contains the upcoming events. Book your local one (there’s also a professional photographer taking pictures throughout concert events so you can also purchase a snapping memory).
How would you like to win Bach to Baby tickets for you and your bundles? I’m giving away a family treat so in order to enter the competition simply share a comment in the comments box below, any thoughts or recommendations on your favourite London family activities. The lucky winners will be announced by the end of the week (Sunday, the 27th of March).
Visit Bach to Baby to find your nearest concert and don’t hesitate to share your thoughts, cool mums, bumps and lovely bundles…