Listening to Vivaldi with a 2-year-old

One of the ideas people shared with me as I was writing 168 Hours was to plan ahead and find space in my schedule for pleasurable activities with my kids. While playing with trains can be fun, it can also get old, especially when you’ve been doing that as much as we have of late with this dreary streak of winter weather. Everyone needs to get out of the house from time to time. The best activities to plan are ones you’ll all enjoy — but it’s especially great if you come up with activities that the adult has interest or expertise in. That way you can align your time: investing in your children while also doing something you love.

I’ve been trying to get in the habit of coming up with such activities for weekends, but one of the great things about having a flexible schedule is that you can do stuff on weekday mornings, too, if you’d like.

So today, I decided to do that. I bought tickets to the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young People’s Concert at Merkin Concert Hall (where my choir, the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, has performed twice). This particular concert featured Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, or at least one of the four seasons: winter — I don’t think they thought pre-schoolers could sit through the whole cycle!

It was definitely a different experience listening to classical music  in an auditorium of 3-year-olds. The ban on eating and drinking was not observed (I tried to hold out on the granola bar Jasper found in my purse, but he was not dissuaded). Many people, including my toddler, did not stay in their seats the whole time.  I’m not quite sure that Vivaldi would have pictured his work being accompanied by a story about a penguin and a bear eating apples in an orchard and then hibernating as the snow came down.

But then again, Vivaldi served as music director in an orphanage, so maybe he would have thought that was perfectly all right. I love this baroque composer’s joyful music, and I’ve sung his Gloria several times, so I relished getting to hear the music as a break from my workday. And Jasper talked about the violins during the ride home. And the penguin and the bear.  So I think that was a success.

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