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Monday, May 20, 2019

Question for the Community: How do you raise children who are comfortable around the arts?


A Question For the Community
What are the best ways to raise children to be comfortable around classical music, art, books, and architecture?  I know part of the answer is being a role model, which my wife and I both are.  Are there specific tips, places to go, or other thoughts, especially around what is best for different ages?  

21 comments:

  1. E.M. Forster: “Bring them up among honest country folks for freshness, send them to Italy for subtlety, and then--not till then--let them come to London.“

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  2. Have them participate. Arrange for them learn to play an instrument that interests them and to learn to draw and paint. Read to them and encourage them to read anything. Take them to the library and let them take out whatever books in their age category happen to strike their interest. And once they are old enough the Five Foot Shelf is still an excellent jumping off point. Take them to cities with timeless monuments and buildings to see and walk through. And as you do all this, explain what is significant or distinctive about what they are hearing and seeing and learning. In addition to learning to appreciate the arts, you will also form family memories that will last all of your lifetimes.

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  3. We did it the old fashioned way -- visiting the Metropolitan Museum in NYC, the Frick and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Always fun to see great art and ancient artifacts from Rome, Egypt, etc. There was always a nice grown up lunch to be had where we all had to use our best manners. Now my children are young adults who still appreciate art, visit museums, galleries, historic houses, etc. without their parents forcing them!

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  4. I was brought up around art and classical music and classic literature and appreciate all in my adult years. As for my kids, one 6 and one 3, I find that the more places I take them, whether it is a walk around the state capitol building or a trip to a junk yard, the better they behave in general. But honestly, if either of them grow up and fail to appreciate the outdoors I will feel a bit disapointed in myself.

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  5. My wife and I have taken my kids since my youngest was 5 along with my other three older children teen and preteen to museums and other cultural venues. We have been to MOMA, the Met in NYC, the Phila Art Museum, the Museum of Natural History in NYC. We have taken them to the Statue of Liberty and to the Freedom Trail in Boston. We have taken them to Birdland in NYC to hear jazz and to Broadway Plays to see Lion King and Wicked. We have taken them to Lincoln Center to hear Mahlers 9th Symphony. Sure they seemed bored sometimes but most of the times they LOVED it. When we are at home and it is quiet, they spontaneously bring up something to talk about or ask questions of about what they have seen and gone to culturally. Also fill your home with books about everything and read to them and let them see you reading and how important learning and education is to you as a parent. All the best.

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  6. Excellent comments here. I would also like to add travel...extensively. To other countries, especially Europe, but anywhere really where the arts are truly appreciated. Of course there are places in the states, but also include international travel. But do this when they are old enough, young teens and up. So they will have good memories of what they saw or experienced, and they will then choose to go again when they are young adults and subsequently throughout their lives. Maintain a home and lifestyle that exemplifies the arts, i.e., listen to classical music at home, have memories in your home of your travels, so they don't forget the moment they come home. It takes time for all of this to sink in, but it will eventually. You have to actually live the life you want your children to experience and become. Wonderful question. Best of luck to you.

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  7. Exposure, education, example. Works for much else now that I think about it.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  8. We have two children, both in the thirties now. We live in a suburb of Washington, D.C., and visited most of the museums at one time or another. Both have turned out to be fairly bookish and very history-oriented, of which we are proud. They are also fairly worldly, having visited Paris and London and both of them have lived overseas. But don't expect them to have the same tastes as you. My musical tastes run to European folk music but it doesn't seem to have rubbed off on anyone. And my son's taste in music is, well, unspeakable.

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  9. Exposure, exposure, exposure. We just took them to art museums, classical concerts, plays, readings, exhibits...you name it. The traveling was extensive and the cultural currency is now high. They know how to behave, grasp artistic references easily and can comfortably mingle with people who are deeply steeped in the arts. We educated from a classical method, enrolled them in Shakespeare Camp, gave them violin, piano and voice lessons and required they have a working knowledge of literature. This sounds expensive and perhaps elitist but it's not. If you look around there are free or nearly free things happening in the arts in almost every community. A little effort pays well.

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  10. I always thought of my kids as little sponges. Some things soak in, some don't. I am constantly surprised at how much my now grown children soaked in. And, yes we have the five foot shelf.

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  11. We buy some art, take them to museums and provide books and music lessons. We also take them to concerts especially when their instruments are featured, as well as the occasional play. As Anonymous 8:39 pointed out there are lots and lots of free opportunities out there as well.

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  12. My daughter was born in Paris, and we lived there for two years before moving on to Geneva. I always took her everywhere. Exposure is the best way to make a child comfortable with all types of art, people, music, food etc. While they're with you, they're safe, and you can answer their questions. By the time she was nine, she had already lived in three countries. Traveling and making friends with children from other cultures begins a lifelong habit of curiosity, critical thinking, appreciation of diversity, and the never ending wonders of the world.

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  13. Even in the hinterlands, there are opportunities for exposure to the arts. Parents need to use them and that may mean leaving the smart phones locked up somewhere

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  14. My folks raised two musicians and a writer, so I guess we’re comfortable around the arts. My very earliest memories are musical - Mom always had light classical music on the hi-fi (so now you can figure out how old I am). Dad’s tastes ran toward Sons if the Pioneers, so I guess there’s something to be said for balance. As well, we were taken to the theater and art museums from school age; nothing heavy, usually musicals, but we all learned to love the magic of the stage. We saw our parents reading for pleasure, so we were eager to learn to read and did so at an early age. Short answer is the same as others: look for opportunities to expose, but don’t make it too heavy at the early ages.

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  15. Travel, concerts, museums, our son( we only had one) was dragged all over the place from age two. He has degrees in music and computer science, a master's in ESL( Asian languages; Korean and Mandarin) and the travel paid off for him, he has lived one year in Korea, and 2 years in China, teaching English at the high school level, and software engineering in a Chinese university.

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  16. Exposure and example is how we did it. Help today’s children to realize there is more to life than social media.
    MaryAnne

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  17. Excellent comments above on the importance of rounding out a child's education. All the time, effort, and money spent on music lessons, museum visits, instruction, travel, and concerts has paid off in spades. My boys know manners and have a broad view of the world, which is the best gift I think I can give them. It has already opened amazing doors.

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  18. Expose them to art, classical music,literature, and science. I exposed my children to art by taking them to various museums. One of my fondest memories was taking them to the Farnsworth Museum
    where my then four year old son was asked to recreate a Jaime Wyeth painting. To this day, that is my most treasured piece of art in my home. Libraries are an excellent resource for parents, and they
    are free. As for music, play classical music in your home, as well as jazz, big band. Include music from other cultures. In terms of science, expose them to the great outdoors. Hiking, sailing, swimming, and don’t forget mud puddles. Let them be children. As for manners, I brought my children
    up to behave properly whether they were at a hot dog stand or a five star restaurant, good manners
    were expected. They also visited a nursing home when they were four and five, as I wanted them to be compassionate souls. They did not know Miss Emma and Miss Catherine that first day, but the lessons they learned from those two precious souls are priceless. My oldest son’s best chess teacher was a lonely Air Force veteran, named Al. Safety was also non negotiable. Bike helmets were not merely a suggestion. Lastly, don’t worry about what other parents think, or what society says is on trend. Raise your children the way you feel is best.

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  19. Let them experience the arts, and most importantly, encourage them to form their own opinion of the arts.

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  20. Our children became intrigued with architecture at a young age through these books by David Macaulay: https://www.ebay.com/i/392148696129?chn=ps

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  21. Our children each played classical instruments through their school programs starting in the fourth grade (something not available to all unfortunately. Their first class each day was strings practice and in later years they told us it was the best, most grounding way to start the day at school and were convinced it made them better at maths and writing.

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