Shhh… Listen closely. Did you hear that? It’s the sound of music (and a major dose of awesome good times) emanating from Benaroya Hall. But that’s not Stravinsky, Haydn or Tchaikovsky you hear. It’s the enticing sounds of the Tiny Tots, Soundbridge Presents, and Discover Music Series. And we’re sure they’ll strike a chord with your mini maestro. So, read on and get ready to orchestrate some fabu family time this symphony season!

Discover Music Rober Wade (c)

The Series

Tiny Tots
“Let Your Music Shine” in this super cute series for the tiniest music fans, featuring Lisa and Linda and their oh so popular style (count ‘em—15 years making music with the Seattle Symphony!) that couples musical learning with entertainment. Through puppets, baby signs, and sing-alongs, these ladies will unlock a love of music in your little one, even if it’s not her forte! They craft each 30-minute performance with the tot lot in mind, so that activities, themes and interactions covertly build a little one’s musical knowledge, but they’re none the wiser (well, sort of). And we know how parents (and kids) L-O-V-E that learning without really learning thing! Lisa and Linda start and end each show with the “Let Your Music Shine” theme song to get everyone jazzed up. And anywhere from 3-5 instruments from the orchestra are featured at each performance (who wouldn’t want to get up-close and personal with a brass or string trio?), all while the minis sing, clap and dance around. It’s sure to be a musical delight!

Soundbridge (c) Tracey Marshall Photography

Where: Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall
Series length: 5 concerts
Dates: October 11 & 12, December 6 & 7, February 14 & 15, April 4 & 5 and June 13 & 14
Times: Fridays at 9:30 am or 10:30 am; Saturdays at 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am or 1:00 pm
Cost: $49 per person
Ages: 0-4

Soundbridge Presents
If you’ve got a little one who loves the local kindie rock scene as much as you do, check out the Soundbridge Presents series. A little bit classical, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, this series, which couples local kindie artists with symphony musicians, is making its debut this year! Each 45-minute performance bears the fruit of artistic collaboration between local kiddie rock legends and world-class classical musicians. We know. Super cool. And the best part is this series is geared towards musical F-U-N for the whole fam, because there’s a little something for everyone. The young‘uns will groove on Recess Monkey and Arts Corps, while parents will feel like they’re young again during Ferdinand The Bull and Oh, the Places You’ll Go. Each creative performance uses a multi-media platform to entertain even the wiggliest of watchers and their parents. Mom, dad and the kiddos will love watching a narrator, musicians, and a screen, working together to tell the spectacular stories featured at each show. Whether it’s projecting illustrations from a book, or captivating scenes that blend music with theme, it’s a feast for 2/3 of your senses. And a definite Saturday morning treat!

Link Up Concert (c) Brandon Patoc Photography

A Little Extra: The Baby Beatles with Caspar Babypants is a special add-on performance for this series. Caspar will be appearing with the symphony January 18 at 10:00 am and 11:30 am, and tickets are just $12.

Where: Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall
Series length: 4 concerts
Dates: November 2, March 15, May 17 and June 28
Times: Saturdays at 10:30 am or 11:30 am
Cost: $39 per person
Ages: 3-6

Discover Music Series
The Discover Music Series is where it’s at for the over 6 crowd. A little bit older, a little bit wiser, these not-so-mini musicians can sit through, and totally enjoy, a longer show. All the parents rejoice! Almost all of the performances in the series are connected to books. And like Soundbridge Presents, they feature musicians, narrators and screens to pull in viewers of all ages. Lemony Snicket’s The Composer is Dead sets the tone for this season with costumes (you wear ‘em) and a little playful narration by Pat Cashman (Yep. From Almost Live!) It’s about time he’s introduced to the next generation. And who doesn’t love the The Snowman? It’s not often that we see snow here in the city, so this virtual version’s a special treat!

Two other shows stand out in this series: Our Earth and The Orchestra Sings. Our Earth embodies Seattle style. It’s all about community and collaboration (with opera singers and local, native, tribal musicians!). And during The Orchestra Sings families rock Benaroya (for real!), with a little Beethoven’s Ode To Joy on the recorder. This show is a plan-ahead kind of deal. Where you get the recorder and the student workbook and practice, practice, practice. But not to worry, families can buy everything they need at the Symphony Store, and even watch videos on YouTube as you and the kiddos work through this classical masterpiece. Now that’s serious art. For the whole family!

Linik Up Discover Music (c) Brandon Patoc Photography-1

Where: S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium
Series length: 5 concerts
Dates: October 19, December 14, February 22, May 10 and June 21
Times: Saturdays at 11:00 am
Cost: $90 for adults, $65 for kids and seniors
Ages: 6-11

Pre-Program Play

Be sure to take advantage of the pre-program play times in the Recital Hall. It’s like smorgasbord of music up in there, just waiting for the kiddos to dig in! This awesome bonus is offered with each concert series, and it’s a great way to engage and excite your mini musicians before heading into the concert. Expect about 30 minutes of coloring, reading books with a musical theme, and exploring wicked cool instruments before heading into the Tiny Tots or Soundbridge Presents shows. Not only do the wee ones get their wiggles out, but they get their creative juices flowing too!

The older bunch gets a whole hour to explore in the Taper Auditorium before attending the Discover Music shows. In addition to two different reading stations, this group will enjoy a musical zoo (presented by King FM) where they can try out classical instruments, and a craft station (hosted by Soundbridge) where budding artists create artful masterpieces that tie into the afternoon’s performance. And who knows? They might even learn a thing or two about hash tags that aren’t followed by 40 characters (musicians call ‘em sharps), while exploring these creative stations!

Kelly Dylla in Soundbridge (c) Tracey Marshall

Good to Know
Be sure to take note of these details when planning your musical journey.

1. Like what you see, but you’ve got a fear of commitment (to a whole season anyway)? Don’t fret! Families can buy tickets for a whole series or pick and choose the concerts that are just right for them. We love it when entertaining the kiddos is easy!

2. Parking’s a breeze when you buy a series. A flat fee up front (ranging from $28 – $36) gets your family a parking pass to be used with each show. Simple is good when you’re hitting the town, and so is guaranteed parking!

3. There’s more music to be had! Your concert ticket opens the doors of Soundbridge on the day-of, so your kiddos can tinker and experiment pre- and post-show!

Benaroya Hall
200 University Street
Seattle, Wa 98101
206-215-4800
Online: seattlesymphony.org

Have you taken your kids to a Seattle Symphony concert? Are you planning to attend one of these concert series? Share your experience with us in a comment below.

–Allison Sutcliffe

Photos thanks to: Robert Wade, Tracey Marshall Photography, Brandon Patoc Photography