Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Image courtesy of Seattle Symphony

Meet an instrument virtually with Seattle Symphony!

Enjoy professional, local music and music education at home.

With school closed for nearly three months now, and the academic year coming to a close in June, arts enrichment at home is more important than ever. Head into your summer break with some tools for keeping your kids entertained, learning, and creating with kid-centered virtual programming from Seattle Symphony!

The Seattle Symphony is working hard to bring music education into the homes of the community through virtual programming, accessible on Seattle Symphony’s YouTube and Facebook pages. Amy Heald, Seattle Symphony Director of Education & Community Engagement, and John Turman, Seattle Symphony Orchestra Musician and Education Programs Host, share how the virtual Tiny Tots and Meet the Instrument online programming came to be, and how to keep music alive in your home during this difficult time.

“Our March First Concerts, which take place in Octave 9, was the first EDCE program to be affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns. First Concerts consist of a Seattle Symphony musician and a host taking an up-close look at their instrument,” Heald explains.

Tiny Tots and Meet the Instrument, programs once presented live at Octave 9 downtown, are both geared toward younger audiences and feature a different instrument each week as they continue virtually.

“John Turman, our amazing Tiny Tots host (and a member of the horn section) had been talking about the possibility of online Tiny Tots videos and suddenly we were in a position where this needed to become a reality, and quickly. Tiny Clips for Tiny Tots (all naming credit goes to John) was born. Additionally the physical Tiny Tots concerts sold out at the beginning of the season, so bringing the program online has allowed us to share it with so many more people.”

When developing Tiny Clips for Tiny Tots, creators at Seattle Symphony, including Turman, were asked to think about whose education they wanted to support during the pandemic. “I’m the eldest in a large family with many cousins, and I love teaching my little cousin Tyler how to play music; he’s 3 and loves to sing. Learning through song is more engaging than reading it out of a book. Fun games like the Rhythm Fruit Salad that was in the Tiny Clips percussion video is also a great way to work music into other activities going on.”

Turman shares, “I still get nervous before each video airs, but seeing the reception and engagement makes it so worth it. It’s been particularly wonderful to see these programs have such enormous reach and become part of people’s weeks not just in Washington, but throughout the country. Preschools are sharing these videos with parents, and adults are tuning in, too. [Seattle Symphony is] proud to have created something for the kids, and really, the whole family.”

Upcoming Tiny Clips for Tiny Tots and Meet the Instrument programming includes the bassoons, horns, flutes, trumpets and strings, showing through the end of June.

Heald encourages families to reflect on how extracurricular activities like music can provide a sense of calm during this chaotic and confusing time, especially for kids.

“There is a part of me that is very hopeful that this situation will help illuminate the importance of the arts. When I think of the things that are helping me manage my own anxiety right now, it’s my morning runs, crocheting, getting my oboe out for the first time in months. If we think of school as preparing our children for their adult lives, we must provide them the opportunities for creativity.”

Turman adds, “Subjects like these – the arts (including music) and athletics – bring people together and provide an opportunity for creative output. These are integral parts of the learning experience. It’s really important for kids to get to engage with that, and they want to engage with that.”

Catch Meet the Instruments on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and Tiny Clips for Tiny Tots on Fridays at 11 a.m., both streaming on Seattle Symphony’s YouTube and Facebook pages. On June 13, catch the first virtual Seattle Symphony Family Concert: The Adventures of Peer Gynt, live at 11 a.m.

For more Seattle Symphony children’s programming through June, head to the Seattle’s Child Virtual Events Calendar.

Related: Calming podcasts, art and music for kids that you can find online