Thinking about bringing your children to a Bravo! Vail performance? We've put together a guide for parents to help prepare their little ones for an orchestral concert at Bravo!
Introducing Your Child to Classical Music
Tips for introducing classical music to your child.
Before The Concert
Things to do with your child before you make your way to the performance.
The big night is finally here! Here are some tips to help you navigate the actual performance.
After The Concert
What should you do after the concert to reinforce the experience?
Introducing Your Child to Classical Music
Listen to a piece of classical music together! Pick a short piece or a short movement of a longer piece.
Ask questions: Does this piece make you feel happy or sad? Are the musicians playing loud or soft or both? What do you imagine while you listen? Does the music remind you of a story or a movie?
Draw a picture or write a short story about the music you just heard.
Read books! There are many wonderful children’s books about musical instruments and orchestras.
Attend one of Bravo! Vail’s Free Family Concerts or Little Listeners @ the Library.
Before The Concert
Decide where you want to sit at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Is the lawn the right choice or inside the amphitheater? Typically, more serious listeners sit inside the amphitheater (the pavilion seats) and the more casual listening area is on the lawn. You know your kid best, so choose a seating location that works for you.
Find a recording of the music you will hear at the concert and listen beforehand. It’s fun to pick out recognizable melodies or instruments at the live performance. Go to youtube for performance videos so your child can get a sense of that they will see.
Walk your child through what they can expect on the night of the concert. How will we find our seats? What is concert etiquette? When should we clap? How long will the concert be?
Most of all, this a fun event to look forward to! Choose a special outfit for concert night to make the event more exciting.
Allow plenty of time to arrive, park, and walk to the amphitheater. View our parking information here.
Upon arriving at the concert, remember to use the restroom, purchase snacks, and get settled before the performance begins.
Here are a few suggestions to help your child understand live concert listening etiquette:
Offer activities during the performance:
Most concerts will have an intermission. Take this time to ask questions about the concert (What was your favorite part? What instrument do you like the best?).
A treat during intermission or after the concert is always fun, too!
After The Concert
On the ride home, at bedtime or the next day, ask your child questions about the concert. What was your favorite part? What made the concert extra special?
If your child has questions you can’t answer, ask us! Send us an email and we'll get back to you as soon as we can!
Your child’s feedback will help inform your next concert experience. For example, if your child liked the violin soloist that night, look at our upcoming programs featuring other violinists.
Order your tickets for the next concert on your list and repeat!
Classical music is a beautiful art form to share with your family no matter when or HOW you choose to do it. Bravo! Vail wants to support you in creating a positive, exciting concert experience for your children. Please feel free to contact us with questions anytime.
MOVIE MUSIC: OUT OF THIS WORLD
The 4th of July Patriotic Concert is presented by the Vail Valley Foundation at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.
Tickets for pavilion seats go on sale Sunday, July 1st at 8:00AM at the amphitheater box office only.
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: FILM WITH LIVE SCORE
An evening featuring the complete film with live orchestra performing the entire score.
Little Listeners @ the Library
Eight events throughout the Valley over the course of the summer.
Magic Circle Mime's "The Listener"
The Listener is a wonderful introduction to the exciting world of symphonic music
From the Jazz Age to the present day, women have brought their own unique perspective to popular music through songwriting and iconic vocal performances both on stage and behind the scenes.
In the ‘60s, Martha Reeves was “Dancing In the Street” as Janis Joplin offered a “Piece of My Heart” and Aretha Franklin demanded “Respect.” Of Carole King’s landmark 1971 album “Tapestry,” Ultimate Classic Rock declared, “It’s not just one of the greatest female singer-songwriter albums of all time, it’s one of the greatest albums of all time – an era milestone that celebrates its timelessness.” During the 1980s and ‘90s artists like Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, and Tina Turner were at the top of the charts.
Honoring these legendary women is a not only a joy for conductor/arranger Jeff Tyzik, but also for the three artists who are channeling their music. According to vocalist Cassidy Catanzaro, “Women have written some of the greatest songs of our generation. Being part of a celebration of their talent is so exciting for all of us.”
The Argentinean tango, like American ragtime and jazz, is music with an intriguing past. Its deepest roots extend to Africa and the fiery dances of Spain, but it seems to have evolved most directly from a slower Cuban dance, the habanera (whose name honors that nation’s capital), and a faster native Argentinean song form, the milonga, both in duple meter and both sensuously syncopated in rhythm. These influences met at the end of the 19th century in the docklands and seamier neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, where they found fertile ground for gestation as the influx of workers streaming in from Europe to seek their fortunes in the pampas and cities of South America came into contact with the exotic Latin cultures. The tango — its name may have been derived from a word of African origin meaning simply “dance,” or from the old Castilian taño (“to play an instrument”), or from a type of drum used by black slaves, or from none of these — came to embody the longing and hard lives of the lower classes of Buenos Aires, where it was chiefly fostered in bawdy houses and back-alley bars by usually untutored musicians. The texts, where they existed, dealt with such forlorn urban topics as faithless women, social injustice and broken dreams. In the years around World War I, the tango migrated out of the seedier neighborhoods of Argentina, leaped across the Atlantic to be discovered by the French, and then went on to invade the rest of Europe and North America. International repute elevated its social status, and, spurred by the glamorous images of Rudolph Valentino and Vernon and Irene Castle, the tango became the dance craze of the 1930s. Tango bands, comprising four to six players (usually piano, accordion, guitar and strings) with or without a vocalist, flourished during the years between the world wars, and influenced not just the world’s popular music but also that of serious composers: one of Isaac Albéniz’s most famous works is his Tango in D; William Walton inserted a tango into his “Entertainment with Poems” for speaker and instruments, Façade; and Igor Stravinsky had the Devil in The Soldier’s Tale dance a tango and also composed a Tango for Piano.
Though the tango was among the most popular dance and entertainment forms of the early 20th century, it was the brilliant Argentinean composer and bandoneónist Astor Piazzolla whose daring innovations brought it into the concert hall. Born near Buenos Aires in 1921 and raised in New York City, Piazzolla returned home and joined the popular tango orchestra of Anibal Troilo as arranger and bandoneón player when he was sixteen. He studied classical composition with Alberto Ginastera in Buenos Aires, and in 1954 wrote a symphony for the Buenos Aires Philharmonic that earned him a scholarship to study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, the renowned teacher of Copland, Thomson, Carter and many other of the best American composers. When Piazzolla returned to Buenos Aires in 1956, he founded his own performing group and began to create a modern style for the tango that combined elements of traditional tango, Argentinean folk music and contemporary classical, jazz and popular techniques into a “Nuevo Tango” that was as suitable for the concert hall as for the dance floor. “Traditional tango listeners hated me,” he recalled. “I introduced fugues, counterpoint and other irreverences: people thought I was crazy. All the tango critics and radio stations of Buenos Aires called me a clown, they said my music was ‘paranoiac.’ And they made me popular. The young people who had lost interest in the traditional tango started listening to me. It was a war of one against all, but in ten years, the war was won.” Piazzolla came to be regarded as the musician who had revitalized one of the quintessential genres of Latin music, and he was honored with a Grammy nomination and awards from Down Beat and other international music magazines and from the city of Buenos Aires. Astor Piazzolla continued to tour widely, record frequently, and compose incessantly until he suffered a stroke in Paris in August 1990. He died in Buenos Aires on July 5, 1992.
MOVIE MUSIC: OUT OF THIS WORLD
JERRY GOLDSMITH (1929- 2004)
Main Theme from Star Trek (1966)
ALEXANDER COURAGE (1919-2008)
Suite from Things to Come (1936)
ARTHUR BLISS (1891-1975)
Music from Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
MICHAEL GIACCHINO (B. 1967)
The music for Star Trek: First Contact (1996) is by Jerry Goldsmith, an Oscar winner and the composer of scores and themes for nearly 300 films and TV shows.
The original theme for the TV series (1966) was written by Hollywood composer, arranger and conductor Alexander Courage.
Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and Golden Globe winner Michael Giacchino (pronounced “juh-KEEN-oh”) has written for video games, television, Disney theme park attractions and more than forty high-profile feature films, including Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013).
British composer and conductor Arthur Bliss studied at Cambridge University and London’s Royal College of Music. He gained a reputation as an advanced, cosmopolitan composer in the 1920s, but became more conventional in style by the time he wrote the music for a number of films in the 1930s, including the path-breaking Things to Come. The film, based on H.G. Wells’ 1933 short story The Shape of Things to Come, was meant to envision the “social and political forces and possibilities” of future history from 1940 to 2054. Unusually, Bliss composed much of the music even before production began so that scenes could be fitted to it.
Music from Star Wars
JOHN WILLIAMS (BORN IN 1932)
Darth Vader is the focus of the evil forces in much of the Star Wars series, and composer John Williams (who was nominated in 2018 for his 51st Academy Award for the score for the recent The Last Jedi) embodied him musically in the Darth Vader March.
Though the Jedi seek to purge themselves of emotion, the teenage Anakin finds love in Episode II: Attack of the Clones when he meets Padmé Amidala, queen of Naboo and senator to the Republic. Williams expressed their love in the theme Across the Stars.
Episode IV: A New Hope (the original Star Wars) closes with the music accompanying Luke, Han, Ben and the victorious rebels being received by the Princess in Throne Room and End Title.
Fanfare from Also sprach Zarathustra (“Thus spake Zarathustra”), Op. 30 (1896)
RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Excerpt from On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op. 314 (1867)
JOHANN STRAUSS, JR. (1825-1899)
Also Sprach Zarathustra and The Blue Danube Waltz are both woven inextricably into 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Stanley Kubrick’s visionary meditation on man’s place in the universe, though that was not the director’s original intention. Kubrick had commissioned a conventional score from the noted Hollywood composer Alex North (Cleopatra, Spartacus, The Rainmaker, The Agony and the Ecstasy), and he used some classical pieces as a temporary soundtrack to begin editing the film while he waited for North to finish his work. Kubrick decided that the concert music fit his ideas and images perfectly, however, so he created the entire soundtrack from compositions by the two Strausses, Ligeti and Khachaturian.
Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Williams provided one of Hollywood’s most musically sophisticated scores for Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), director Steven Spielberg’s visionary account of the arrival of aliens on earth. In the film, Roy Neary (played by Richard Dreyfuss) has strange visions and keeps hearing five musical notes in his mind after being inexplicably bathed in light on a lonely road at night. He is drawn to a remote site where scientists secretly await the landing of the aliens, who prove to be gentle, childlike beings of beneficent intent. In addition to weaving Neary’s five-note motive throughout his score, Williams used serialism and other modernistic techniques for the early, tense scenes of the film, and lyrical, inspirational, expansive music to accompany the story’s optimistic resolution (as well as an ingenious quotation from the Oscar-winning song When You Wish Upon a Star from Disney’s 1940 Pinocchio). The score received an Oscar nomination, but lost out that year to Williams’ music for Star Wars. Excerpt from “Mars, The Bringer of War” from The Planets, Op. 32 (1914-1917)
GUSTAV HOLST (1874-1934)
Holst wrote of The Planets, “These pieces were suggested by the astrological significance of the planets. There is no program music in them, neither have they any connection with the deities of classical mythology bearing the same names. If any guide to the music is required, the subtitle to each piece will be found sufficient, especially if it is used in a broad sense.” Mars, the Bringer of War is one of the most graphic depictions of its subject in the orchestral literature. Main Title from Alien (1979)
Jerry Goldsmith wrote the score for the harrowing Alien (1979), which won that year’s Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, was ranked by the American Film Institute as the seventh-best science fiction movie of all time, and included on the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2002. Excerpts from E.T.: Adventures on Earth (1982)
Director Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: Adventures on Earth (1982) is the enchanting story of a ten-year-old who befriends a gentle, lovable alien stranded on earth when his space ship hurriedly leaves without him. E.T. was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and John Williams’ memorable score won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award.
After the Continental Congress endorsed the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776, John Adams wrote to his beloved Abigail, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the country’s great anniversary festival.” From then till now, July 4 has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with patriotic concerts and family gatherings being among the traditional festivities.
We celebrate this most American of holidays with the most American of music. This year, showcasing the seemingly endless talents of conductor/composer/arranger JEFF TYZIK (b. 1951) are his arrangements of American themes, a homage to the original Yankee Doodle Dandy George M. Cohan, and Tyzik’s original tribute to the beautiful Colorado landscape, Alpine Garden. The pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness continues with evocations of the American spirit by JOHN WILLIAMS (b. 1932) including music from his Revolutionary War-era themed The Patriot, and an energetic dance from Rodeo by AARON COPLAND (19001990). LEROY ANDERSON (1908-1975) showcases the lighter side of military life with Bugler’s Holiday, leading into a salute to the services and the National March of the United States, The Stars and Stripes Forever by JOHN PHILIP SOUSA (1854-1932).
- PROGRAM -
The Star-Spangled Banner
Liberty Bell March
Fantasy on American Themes
Shenandoah, Flute and Violin Duet
George M. Cohan Medley
St. Louis Blues March
Gardens of Stone
Andrew Kinard, narrator
Armed Forces Song Medley
The Stars and Stripes Forever
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: FILM WITH LIVE SCORE
Before the multiplex, the 3-D, the gee-wiz computer graphics, the immersive sound system, the $10 popcorn, there were the serials, twelve or fifteen twenty-minute episodes of a continuing story produced with more bravado than sophistication that left Flash Gordon, Dick Tracy, Captain Marvel, Zorro or whatever buff hero was featured in the series in impossible-to-escape peril at the end of each segment. The heyday of the movie serials was from the mid-1930s to the 1950s, when 25¢ got you into a Saturday matinee showing two serial episodes, two B features (cowboys were always big), and a bunch of cartoons; another 25¢ was enough to keep your teeth stuck together with Ju-Ju-Bees for the entire afternoon.
George Lucas (born in 1944 in Modesto, California) and Steven Spielberg (1946, Cincinnati Ohio) were enthralled with the Saturday serials as kids. Following the success of his Best Picture-nominated American Graffiti (1973), set in Modesto in 1962, Lucas wanted to make the Flash Gordon Saturday serial into a feature film but could not obtain the rights to the character … so he wrote and directed Star Wars (1977) instead. For the score, Spielberg recommended that Lucas hire John Williams, who had won an Oscar for his soundtrack for Spielberg’s Jaws in 1975. Star Wars was a phenomenon, winning six Academy Awards (including another one for Williams) and became the highest-grossing film of all time until it was overtaken by Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1983.
Soon after Star Wars was released, Lucas escaped the furor over the film by heading to Hawaii, where Spielberg was also taking a break from filming Close Encounters of the Third Kind. While they were collaborating on building a sand castle on the beach in front of the Mauna Kea Hotel, Spielberg confessed a secret desire to direct a James Bond film. Lucas told him he had developed a character “better than James Bond” in 1973, when he had been stopped from making his Flash Gordon film, a story then titled “The Adventures of Indiana Smith,” about a tweedy college-archeologist-turned-bullwhip-toting action hero. The principal plot device was the recovery of the lost Ark of the Covenant, the Biblical gold-covered wooden chest containing the original tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments. The film was set in 1936 and the Nazis, then consolidating their power in Germany and believing the Ark would make their armies invincible, would be his adversaries. Spielberg loved the idea, calling it “a James Bond film without the hardware,” but he told Lucas that the surname “Smith” was not right for the character. Lucas replied, “OK. What about ‘Jones’?”
By January 1978, Spielberg had agreed to direct Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lucas continued to develop the story with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (who was then also working on the Star Wars’ sequel The Empire Strikes Back), and Frank Marshall was hired to produce. With its roots in the beloved 1930s serials, the plot of the film took Indy (the perfectly cast Harrison Ford, who had been impressive as Han Solo in Star Wars) on a thrill-ride that included narrow escapes (from snake pits, hurtling boulders, poison darts, collapsing walls, yawning chasms, exploding airplanes, ghoulish spirits, and roaring fires), nasty villains (Nazis, of course, but also a traitorous Frenchman and a spying spider monkey) and a feisty but regularly kidnapped damsel (played by Karen Allen).
Filming began in La Rochelle, France in June 1980 (the scenes with the Nazi submarine) and continued at London’s Elstree Studios (including the infamous snake-pit sequence, in which many of the “snakes” were harmless legless lizards from the Balkans called Scheltopusiks — only the cobras were poisonous; Indy was separated from the one threatening him by a glass panel), the Hawaiian island of Kauai (the tropical scenes), and Tunisia (the desert portions), where the whole crew (except Spielberg, who survived that month of filming eating canned SpaghettiOs) was hit with dysentery from the heat and tainted food. (The filming of the unforgettable scene when Indy and his bullwhip are pitted against stuntman Terry Richards’ sword had to be cut short because Ford was suffering badly from the malady that day. “Let’s just shoot the sucker,” he pleaded with Spielberg.) All the visual effects were created by Industrial Light & Magic, the ground-breaking company Lucas had established to support the cinematic wizardry of Star Wars.
Raiders of the Lost Ark, released on June 12, 1981, was an immediate hit with both the public and with critics. Vincent Canby in The New York Times called it “one of the most deliriously funny, ingenious and stylish American adventure movies ever made.” Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Sun Times critic Roger Ebert praised its “sense of humor and the droll style of its characters.... We find ourselves laughing in surprise, in relief, in incredulity at the movie’s ability to pile one incident upon another in an inexhaustible series of inventions.” Raiders was the year’s top-grossing film and was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Score; it won for Art Direction, Film Editing, and Sound and Visual Effects with a Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing. The film’s success led to three sequels — Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008); another is scheduled for possible release in 2020. Raiders of the Lost Ark was entered into the Library of Congress‘ National Film Registry in 1999 as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”
Little Listeners @ the Library
Kids enjoy amazing live music performances and participate in instrument petting zoos where they can hold, explore, and play musical instruments. Great for our very youngest listeners (or music lovers!).
Magic Circle Mime's "The Listener"
The Listener is a wonderful introduction to the exciting world of symphonic music. A fun-filled orchestra adventure for the whole family! This program introduces young audiences to the workings of an orchestra and explores the active relationship between the listening audience and the musician.
Magic Circle Mime
Q: Should I bring the kids?
A: We strongly recommend the minimum age of six for a pavilion seat. There is no age limit for the lawn. Every child is different; you know your child best and can judge their readiness for experiencing a concert at Bravo! Vail. Most importantly, if you attend a concert and find that your kids are too young, don’t worry! Try again in the future—later in the summer or the following year.
Q: What is the age limit for bringing my child to a concert?
A: There is really no “right” age for bringing your child to a concert. There is no age limit for the lawn, and we recommend audiences are 5 or older for sitting inside the pavilion. However, you know your child best and can judge their readiness for experiencing a concert at Bravo! Vail. Most importantly, if you attend a concert and it isn’t a great experience, don’t worry! Try again in the future—later in the summer or the following year.
Q: How do I know if my child ready to attend a Bravo! Vail concert?
A: Go through the “before the concert” activities and use your child’s interest and focus to gauge their readiness. Remember, all kids are different and will experience classical music in different ways…and that’s OK!
Q: How else can I introduce my child to classical music?
A: Bravo! Vail has many programs for kids. Check out all of our opportunities for kids and families here.