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Blog: Growing our tiniest audiences

Blog from Julia Roderick, Senior Community, Learning & Volunteering Officer

The positive benefits of listening and interacting with music for young children, even in utero, are widely recognised and there has been a great deal of research undertaken in this area. Music making, singing and dancing aids not only development of the brain, language and communication skills, but is a wonderful way for children to explore their imagination, creativity and personal and social development.

Most importantly perhaps, is the joy and happiness that comes from parents and carers engaging in musical play with their children. Beautiful moments of magic and surprise.

At Bristol Music Trust, our work with our youngest children and families continues to grow and we’ve had an action packed half term of activities both at the hall, and out and about in our local communities.

Hall Explorers!

Over a weekend in May half term, families from across Bristol came together for a musical journey into the treasures, characters and legends of Colston Hall’s 150 year history. Led by workshop leaders Hannah Opstad and Tara Baggott, we took inspiration from suffragettes and made up our own protest songs; created our own wrestling characters and bopped to swing dance and song. We were particularly thrilled to welcome foster families and families referred to us through Families in Focus – the multi-agency service working with troubled families.

“We loved learning about the history, and enjoyed the interaction with other families and children”

– Parent, Hall Explorers

“Very well led. Lots of energy and enthusiasm”

– Parent, Hall Explorers

DragonBird Theatre

In partnership with Bristol City Council and North Bristol Children’s Centres, over 200 children and families joined actors and musicians from DragonBird Theatre for interactive performances of “The Curious Crocodile and The Meaning of Life”, a hilarious and colourful exploration into the story of Kamina the croc. Crossing swamps, fishing for Mr Heron and taking part in our own jungle fashion show, babies as young as 3 weeks old were delighted by DragonBird Theatre’s magical story and beautiful music.

Completely free to families, thanks to National Lottery Heritage Fund’s support of Bristol Music Trust, this was many people’s first experience of children’s musical theatre. Targeting Children’s Centres across the city, this programme of activity is about reaching families near where they live and ensuring everybody has access to creative performance and participation.

I attended the session at Avonmouth CC as parent and practitioner, I thought it was a lovely session and heard lots of praise throughout the session. My parents who brought my daughter along said how lovely it was and my two year old enjoyed it, apart from feeling shy. I felt the show was just long enough and the after activities were great fun and engaged all the different age groups that were present.

– Parent, Dragonbird Workshop

I would like to thank you all on behalf of our children, parents and staff! It was a great experience for our children and for most of them, it was their first show ever.

– Fatoum, Rosemary Nursery

Keep an eye out for more exciting early years and family activity happening near you. For more information about our work in this area, please contact community@colstonhall.org

Our very own Hoo Ha! children’s festival take place this August, including loads of free fun. Find out more here: https://www.colstonhall.org/shows/hoo-ha-2019/