Brain Talk

“Your brain is inside here daddy,” My little princess points to her head, “and its covered by a really hard case. It has to be hard because it looks all fluffy, and there’s a line down the middle and its all soft. It is a hard case isn’t it daddy cause I fell and hit my head this morning and I don’t want my brain hurt.” I assure her the bone around her brain is very hard. “And you’ve got nerds which run down your arms and legs and let your brain know if the heat pads in your fingers and toes are touching something hot.” The lecture about her brain and body goes on for some time, I’m entranced.

This while we’re waiting for a concert at the QE2 Hall. Some friends of ours had bought the tickets, but had caught the dreaded lurgy so we lucked out and got the tickets instead. The boys where sitting in front of a drummer working on their percussion. Looked like fun, but I was in class being taught all about my daughter’s body. I knew her teacher was good, but getting four year olds to understand reasonably complex anatomy is pretty impressive.

Shortly we go in. Pirate Pete frets and slumps in his chair. He’s learned from his mates that only “Pop” is cool, so this is, by definition, uncool. The other two just go with it. So do I. LL is an Opera lass, which I don’t mind in the least, but I got brought up on classical concerts, so it’s a real treat to go. The Philharmonic are all dressed up as clowns or animals to go along with the children’s performance, which is silly, but helps.

The music is excellent. My princess is particularly enthralled by the Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens. It doesn’t hurt that the Tuba player, with appropriate elephant mask, has snuck away from the stage and sits beside us to do his bit in the March of the Elephant (which should have been a double bass, but works really well with the brass). Even Pirate Pete perks up at Sousa’s Stars and Stripes.

It was a full hall, which is good, but the audience was pure white, and pretty clearly all middle class. Which is not good. Getting kids hooked on music is a must, but so long as classical is deemed a middle class domain, getting kids broadly hooked won’t happen. Which doesn’t mean it should be forced down people’s throats, but the joy of music is in the wide variety invented. If kids get stuck in one genre, their lives will be the poorer.

Still, I enjoyed it and so did the kids. So this family will be back.

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