By Hayden B.

As a mom and/or dad, you’ve probably heard about all the studies that show that music is important for the development of young children. It helps with language acquisition, math skills, listening skills, self-esteem, creativity; the list goes on and on. As a mom of a two-year-old, I’m always looking for ways to integrate music into my child’s life. One music program that I highly recommend is the Winston-Salem Symphony’s Discovery Series Concerts for Kids. These concerts are affordable, accessible and fun and are a wonderful way to introduce classical music to kids of all ages.

I actually took my daughter last year, when she was only one. The great thing is that the concerts are full of other kids and families so if you’re child doesn’t behave perfectly you don’t have to be overly anxious. In fact, the Symphony works hard to keep the concerts entertaining and they include plenty of chances for wiggly kids to move in their seats in time to the music. The concerts are about one hour long, perfect for short attention spans, and incorporate guest artists that fit the theme of each concert, such as dancers, magicians, musicians with a comedic bent and more, who help entertain the kids.

What I particularly love is the fact that the concerts are accessible for my daughter now at age 2, but will become even more meaningful as she grows. She’ll get more and more out of these concerts each year as she matures. I love watching the older kids in the audience enjoying the concerts and activities.

An hour before each show there are a variety of pre-concert activities that are fun for older kids. There is always an instrument petting zoo, which is a chance for kids to touch and even play instruments, and other activities that are geared to entertain and provide an educational element. The activities are tied into the theme of each concert.

The first Discovery Series Concert for Kids of the season is coming up on Sunday November 3. I’ll be there with my daughter at Reynolds Auditorium for “Tricks & Treats,” which will feature Halloween music including Saint-Saëns Danse Macabre, Mussorgsky’s famous A Night on Bald Mountain, Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, and also Michael Jackson’s Thriller! Low & Lower are the guest artists, a funny cello/double bass duo who will add a comic twist to the program. It’ll be great to show my daughter that musicians are not only talented, but also can be funny. The Symphony is encouraging kids to come in their Halloween costume—which gives them another change to wear their costumes!

Pre-concert activities for this concert beginning at 2 p.m. include a Mad Scientist Lab sponsored by SciWorks exploring the wonders of sound, fun activities related to the Day of the Dead sponsored by the Wake Forest Museum of Anthropology, a chance to learn dance moves from Thriller! and more!

Just a month later, on Sunday, December 1 (this time at 2 p.m.) the Symphony is introducing a new holiday event that I think will be really special called “Carolina Christmas Spectacular!” With aerialists from Cirque de la Symphonie, festive holiday music and even a visit from Santa, I’m definitely taking my daughter to this concert. The final concert, “Red, White & Blue!” takes place on February 16 and will feature fun and rousing patriotic music.

Here’s another tip. Getting a subscription to the Discovery Series is more cost effective than buying single tickets. Single tickets for the November 3 and February 16 concerts are $5 for children, ages three to 12 (2 and under, free) and $16 for adults. Single tickets for the “Carolina Christmas Spectacular!” on December 1 are $25/$40 for ages 3-12 (2 and under, free) and $25-$65 for adults. Season tickets for the 2013-2014 Discovery concerts are $74 for each adult and $32 for each child and include $40 “Carolina Christmas Spectacular!” seats for kids and $55 to $65 seats for adults, which means you get great seats at a significant savings. Call 336.464.0145 for tickets or online at

Sponsored by the Winston-Salem Symphony