Toddlers and Tchaikovsky

Mozart composed his first piece at the age of four. The average age of Tuesday’s classical music concert was around 18 months. Maybe the Mozarts of tomorrow have just been inspired.

Bach to Baby is a parent-toddler music group with a difference. In the place of tambourines, triangles, and shouting are classical musicians. On 11 March, 25 toddlers and their accompanying adults descended on Christ Church in Islington for a piano and violin recital.

Unlike your average music group, participation was not encouraged. Rather the audience were expected to listen. The soothing effects of pieces such as the sonatas in F minor by Handel and Mendelssohn, as well as Elgar’s ‘Chanson de Matin’ meant that on the whole they did, with only the occasional maverick making a break for it, as the lure of the stage proved too much.

Classical musicians, violinist Ellie Fagg and pianist Anna Tilbrook provided Tuesday’s entertainment. The twice-monthly recitals have included a jazz pianist and trumpets at Christmas.

After the performance came the highlight of the morning for the young audience: nursery rhymes complete with encouraged participation, their treat for 45 minutes for (on the whole) good behaviour.

‘It’s more for the parents’

Although the name ‘Bach to Baby’ suggests a young target audience, Ms Fagg, Tuesday’s violinist and sometime attendee with her 18-month-old daughter believes “it’s more for the parents”.

A view seconded by Erica Edmonds, who attends with her eight-month-old son Joseph: “It’s a fun thing to do, I look forward to it every month. It’s not just the babies who like it, parents do too. I enjoy classical music but I just don’t get the chance to go to concerts anymore, so this is perfect.”

There is no conclusive evidence that listening to classical music makes children more intelligent
There is no conclusive evidence that listening to classical music makes children more intelligent

“I’ve learnt a lot from coming!” said Jenny Ekelund, who comes with her eight-month-old son Oliver. “The musicians are very good. They aim the music at the children and are happy for them to wander around, but they explain the music to the parents.”

However, both Ms Fagg and Ms Tilbrook extoll the educational benefits for the younger attendees. “The only exposure children get to music is listening to what their parents are listening to. If children don’t come to things like this, they don’t know what music is”.

For more information and to find out about the next event visit Bach To Baby’s website.