Tara Bone, contributing writer
Once again, it’s that time of day. You can’t run and you can’t hide. You must prepare for the unrelenting moments that test every ounce of parental patience you possess. It’s time for the kids to practice their musical instruments.
If you’ve ever encouraged an unwilling child to practice, you understand. It’s especially frustrating if the child has spurts of enjoyment or brilliance. It’s like a roller coaster. Some days they ride the high of a successful recital, or they enjoy what they’re playing. Some days there are lows of working through tough stuff. Learning any musical instrument, including voice, requires persistence and focus. Sometimes it’s hard, especially if there isn’t a vision of the end result, or a love for the art. With that said, it’s a good thing we live in Cache Valley.
Whether your child needs inspiration, or you just want to introduce them to the magic of the performing arts, Cache Valley is the place. Experiencing live performances in an audience can inspire, uplift and provide joy at any age. The quality and variety of concerts and performances in our area is incredible. In fact, this tradition goes back to the 1920s when Logan was known as “the Athens of the West” because of the caliber and prestige of the Ellen Eccles Theatre.
Taking children to any performance can be daunting, but it can be done. Our family’s first theatrical outing was a matinée to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang seven years ago. With some hesitation, we took our very wiggly boys after talking to them about how to act in a theatre and using “positive reinforcement” (bribery) for good behavior. And, they loved it! How can a flying car not be magical?!
Armed with a few tips, the entire family can enjoy live performance. With so many choices, there is something of interest for every child, and you may not anticipate the impact. When I took my youngest to a guitar performance at Utah State University, he hung onto every note and now dreams of jamming with a red guitar.
Take advantage of the performing arts options in our community. Whether it’s live theatre, ballet, orchestra, choir or jazz, there’s something for every budding arts enthusiast.
Tips for families:
- Check the venue’s policy on age requirements for children.
- Take advantage of matinées and kid-friendly showings.
- Arrive early, but don’t sit too long before.
- Do a quiet activity in the lobby until show time.
- Use the bathroom before the performance.
- Be courteous: Don’t talk, walk around or use any electronic devices.
- Discuss meaning or history of the venue, performance or composers.
- Don’t put feet on the seats or kick seats in the next row, and sit on pockets. Some theaters will provide booster seats for young children.
- Make it a special occasion.
- Discuss ways to handle moments when they may feel bored — how to anticipate the next exciting moment.
- Do laugh when it’s funny, applaud when appropriate and let imagination take flight.
Local Performing Arts
Cache Valley Civic Ballet cvcballet.org
Cache Theatre Company cachetheatre.com
Ellen Eccles Theatre cachearts.org
Four Seasons Theatre Company: fourseasonstheatre.org
Music Theatre West musictheatrewest.org
Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre utahfestival.org
Utah State’s Lyric Repertory Company lyricrep.org
Utah State University’s Caine College of the Arts cca.usu.edu
Two of my favorite programs for first-performance outings for little ones are the Unicorn Theatre plays by kids for kids. Chairs might be uncomfortable, so kids can bring pillows and sit on the rugs in front of the stage. The Music Box Concert Series introduces children to different instruments interactively. I know several parents have tried the Music at the Tabernacle concert series as first time concerts, too. The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art and the Museum of Anthropology have family days on a regular basis. Thank you for a wonderful article and good tips to practice. Our valley is rich with artistic opportunities, even for the littlest of patrons.