Music entertains, trains the ear, aids in dance parties, adds spice to a special occasion and can soothe tender feelings. Really, there isn’t much music can’t do to help heal and fuel the soul, which is why getting children involved in the art form proves beneficial.
Choose from full programs aimed at teaching and supporting kids through music from learning how to play an instrument to places one can see and hear live music. With so many harmonious paths, there’s no reason to skip bringing children into a symphony of instruments, melodies and inspiration. Bonus, many of the institutions showcasing music for kids are SCFD-funded, meaning they are putting your taxpayer money to work.
A CHILD’S SONG
Two locations:12301 Grant St., Thornton; DU Campus, 2180 S. University Blvd. Denver
In 1999 Sandy Taylor founded A Child’s Song with the aim to bring music to kids of all ages.
In fact, the organization writes that its core belief is to, “harness the power of music, not just for skill development, but as a catalyst for growth, healing, and unity, enriching the lives of all ages and abilities regardless of socio-economic status and fostering bonds within families and communities.”
To do this, there are activities and classes including Melody Gym, a musical program for ages 0 to 4, and Reach and Teach, a program focused on specific needs of kids with physical, developmental, behavioral, social, economic and/or emotional challenges. Children ages 6 and older can come and learn how to play drums, guitar, ukulele, piano, violin and more. There’s also a singing program for those who want to flex their vocal muscles.
SWALLOW HILL MUSIC
71 E. Yale Ave., Denver
Inspired by the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, Denver’s Swallow Hill Music is a non-profit dedicated to promoting and preserving folk music. It’s been doing this since 1979, and with classes, performances and outreach programs, shows no signs of slowing down.
For kids there are classes for ages 1 to 18, as well as private lessons. Options range from music theory and guitar to piano and singing. While folk music may have been the original focus, shows and classes cover so much more, including rock, bluegrass, country, jazz and blues. There’s even a music therapy category, meant to aid those with special need to learn and experience music.
1080 14th St., Denver
While jazz might not be the top of your kids’ jam list, that may change after a few free sessions at Dazzle, now located in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Kids 12 and under can get in free to most shows with a paying adult, just contact the theater to reserve the gratis extra seat.
The 26-year-old institution also started Saturday matinee shows geared toward kids 11 and under. From noon to 1pm, sing along, dance and act out shows under the guidance of talented musicians. Each ticket runs $5, and food and drink can be purchased during the event.
SCHOOL OF ROCK
560 S. Holly St., Denver
Yes, School of Rock does exist outside that 2003 Jack Black comedy. In fact, the organization has over 325 schools and 62,000 students worldwide, and one is located in Denver. Here kids can learn how to play the guitar, drums, keyboards and bass, as well as instruction in singing and songwriting. The base of the curriculum is classic rock (think Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin). All levels are welcome, and kids can take a trial lesson in any category to decide if it speaks the them. Call 720-221-6991 to schedule a time to check it out and learn more.
Boettcher Concert Hall, 1000 14th St., Denver
There’s nothing stogy about watching Harry Potter or Home Alone with a live musical score, or hearing beloved film scores in a concert. These are just some of the family-friendly shows the Colorado Symphony has planned over the next few months for kids and their adults. Not only that, but head to the show early and go to the Bach Room of Boettcher Concert Hall. Here you’ll find various activities and crafts geared toward many of the family-friendly concerts throughout the season.
For the child who wants to go the more professional route, this choir caters to ages 7 to 14. Since 1974 the organization has hosted fully-staged opera and musical theater and standard choral compositions featuring an array of music from classical to folk to popular songs. Anyone who wants to audition is welcome and can find more details online. Not that you have to be part of the group to enjoy it. Colorado Children’s Chorale has performances all year long too and locations throughout the area.
Get kids into opera with Opera Colorado. No, we don’t suggest sitting down for Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Instead, enjoy an abridged production of Cinderella at the next family day the opera company hosts in March 2024. There’s also story time sessions, where two stories are performed for about 30 minutes each. This has to be specially reserved and is great for schools or groups as an intro into opera.