Summer is here, which means school is over and the grandkids will be looking for activities to keep them busy—maybe hiking, biking, swimming, and playing at the beach, as well as spending more time with Grandma and Grandpa. This is an excellent time to take them to summer concerts and performances and introduce them to a variety of music styles; the more the better. Research shows that music can have numerous positive effects for children, including memory development, creativity, and self-expression.
All summer, Victoria and surrounding municipalities will be staging family-friendly outdoor music concerts and performances. And the best news is that many are free! Children love the outdoors so a trip to the park or the beach is always a good idea. You’ll be tapping your feet and snapping your fingers with your grandkids, making it lots of fun for everyone in the family.
Whether you like jazz and blues, classical, folk or swing, there’s something for everyone at the free afternoon concerts at Beacon Hill Park as well as the Folk Music evening series. These free concerts take place Friday to Monday afternoons from June to September, and on Tuesday evenings in July and August at the Cameron Bandshell. Bring a blanket and a picnic for an enjoyable time for all.
Grab your shades and sunhats and attend the Memorial Park Music Fest in Esquimalt on Tuesday nights from June 26 to August 7. There is a fantastic lineup of performances such as The Bobby Dazzler Band, Soul Shakers, Stephanie Greaves and Bijoux du Bayou. Bring your chairs and a picnic, and also plan on visiting one of the onsite local food vendors for a variety of multicultural snacks and beverages.
Oak Bay Parks and Recreation is offering free concerts on the beach throughout the summer. The musical line-up features local talent with many musical styles. Audiences can expect something different each time and a chance to enjoy music outdoors. Bring a blanket and picnic. All concerts in this summertime series will take place at Willows Beach Park, starting at 6:30 p.m.
The ultimate summertime musical event is the Symphony Splash, which is fast approaching on August 5. Splash is an annual Victoria event that takes place on a floating stage anchored in the Inner Harbour. The Victoria Symphony performs on the stage and the event has become one of the largest symphony events in North America, attracting close to 40,000 people. A selection of classical and popular music is performed with the culminating performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture accompanied with carillon bells, navy field guns and a spectacular firework display. The Symphony Splash is an outdoor event so it’s best to bring folding lawn chairs or a blanket for your family to sit on the Legislature lawn. The Inner Harbour can be breezy and chilly in the evening, so bring extra sweaters and blankets. Another good idea is to pack a picnic basket or cooler with water and snacks.
Make sure you have your grandkids’ favourite music in the car or at home for when they visit and encourage them to sing along. Research shows that children whose grandparents sing with them show better vocabulary and emotional development. When you sing songs, you are facilitating language acquisition and speech development in children. For very young children, sing simple nursery rhymes such as “Twinkle Twinkle little Star,” “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” or “Row Row Your Boat.” A fun activity is to have your grandchild sing the missing lyrics from nursery rhyme songs. For example, you sing “Mary had a little____” and encourage her to sing “lamb” or sing “Hot Cross _____” or “Merrily we roll ______.” An excellent book to read with your grandchild is Singing Bee! by Jane Hart. It is a collection of lullabies, nursery rhymes, finger plays and action songs. Songs in the book include “Hush Little Baby,” “Pat-a-Cake” and “Where is Thumbkin.” Toddlers love these rhymes as you’ll see from their laughter and smiles while doing these activities together.
Singing lullabies is another wonderful music activity with your young grandchild. A soft lullaby gives a child a sense of peace and comfort. Lullabies have soothing lyrics and if you have a rocking chair you can rock your grandchild to sleep. Choose easy lullabies with simple lyrics that your child can sing along with, such as “Rock a Bye Baby,” “Are you Sleeping,” or “Lavenders Blue.”
Music is an enjoyable and wonderful way to spend time with your grandkids this summer, especially when it is presented in an outdoor venue. By taking the time to explore music, you will be expanding your grandchild’s music appreciation and creating memories for your whole family.