Kids of Summer — and their Psalters, Harps, and Gavottes

The joy, color, and musical legacy of Baroque and Early Music comes alive for kids at the 'Piccoli' workshop May 25 in Prague.

The joy, color, and musical legacy of Baroque and Early Music comes alive for kids at the ‘Piccoli’ workshop May 25 in Prague.

Until only recently, Early Music was often dismissed as irrelevant. Today you can enjoy Baroque performances everywhere. And now, one festival is even bringing old music to the youngest audience — kids from 4 to 14 — and their parents.

“Our aim is to maintain the high-quality musical heritage we have, and the only way to do that is to educate the audience,” says Monika Nováková. ' She’s one of the organizers of Piccoli, nine hands-on workshops for kids and their parents.

It will be held on one day during the 15th Summer Early Music Festival (Letních Slavostní Staré Hudby) June 14-Aug 6.

She continues, “The only key to understanding the meaning of music is to experience the ‘cipher’ of music on your own. So these interactive workshops on May 25 are the best way to experience Early Music.”

“Experience” is the key word here.

Rise Up (and Sing), Šemík!

Kids as young as 4 years old can find something fun at 'Piccoli.'

Kids as young as 4 years old can find something fun at ‘Piccoli.’

At Piccoli (little, in Italian), young kids at the Baroque Clam-Gallas Palace can sing old psalter songs or play a harp.

Or dance in the palace chambers. Or make a linocut or try calligraphy.

Or go on an adventurous musical journey to an era when Šemík (the horse) jumps over the walls of Vyšehrad (to fly over the Vltava, according to the old Czech legend).

If that’s not enough, also, the popular puppet theater Buchty a Loutky will perform “The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg.”

Festival organizers The Collegium Marianum Foundation have engaged professional musicians and experienced tutors and teachers from Bohemia and Moravia to design the activities, “who guarantee expertise, and whose approach is characterized by an emphasis on playfulness and creativity,” Monika Nováková tells Opus Osm.

After the Party is Over

But what happens after the day’s workshops are over? Will that be the end of children’s exposure to Early Music? After all, the topic is still not very common in elementary music education.

The Summer Festivities of Early Music (Letních Slavostní Staré Hudby) international music festival
* Seven performances, from July 14-Aug 6, in six historic venues in Prague
* This year’s theme, ‘Delight and Grace,’ presents contrasts between secular and sacred music
* Performers from several European countries highlight the rich cultural exchange in Europe of the time
* Performances offer arias, orchestral works, coronation music, dance music, and songs
* For the one-day Piccoli event, children must be accompanied by a parent, and pre-registration is required.

“Our aim is to attract children’s interest and curiosity about Early Music, which is not boring even though it is quite old,” she says. That’s why the Collegium Marianum Foundation plans to offer new workshops every year, as well as to offer other children’s programs throughout the school year.

“Experience has shown that the combination of Early Music and young people is not only possible, but works very well,” she says. “Children, and people in general, do appreciate the exceptional quality of time-proven music, especially when they are part of it — and not only as viewers or listeners.

“Early Music is a unique, playful field for musical improvisation.” — oo

— Mary Matz, editor of Opus Osm

Photo Credits: Piccoli / Letních Slavnosti Staré Hudby website

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