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The Arts and Books on Vacation, Part Three: MUSIC

Photo licensed from Fotolia
Photo licensed from Fotolia

The post on DANCE is here, and the post on VISUAL ARTS is here.

The budding young musicians in the family needn’t feel left out as their artist and dancer siblings revel in the opportunities open to them on vacation as there are plenty of musical opportunities as well.

There are summer music camps of all descriptions available, from day camps for the very young, to intensive focused camps for older musical youth. These provide excellent opportunities for children to realize that they’re not the only ones who are involved in music, as well as, of course, providing musical education mixed with outdoor experiences.

There is also a plethora of outdoor concerts, festivals, and other music experiences.

New York City, of course, offers much for children in terms of musical events. On the fantastic site, Mommy Poppins, this list from last year (this year’s isn’t up yet) shows some of what’s available. If you have kids and live in the New York area, this would be a fabulous site to bookmark.

There are wonderful musicals to take kids to, and there’s likely something being staged this summer wherever you live. If you’re lucky enough to live close enough to New York City to take in a show on Broadway, you can choose from Wicked, The King and I, The Lion King, and many other possibilities. Note: you can see The Lion King in several other places as well as NYC. Check around — find out what’s being offered where you are!

On the other side of the country, Los Angeles’ famous Hollywood Bowl certainly knows how to appeal to kids, as their Summer Sounds program combines music and art to allow children to experience some of the rich and varied culture that makes up the city of LA.

Heading up north to Canada, I’ve found a unique offering that particularly appeals to me as the daughter of a man who was fascinated by airplanes his entire life. There are several week-long Music and Aviation day camps in Ottawa, Ontario. Kids get to participate in “daily music lessons, aviation workshops, and outdoor activities” with a different theme for each day. Pity I’m too old… 😉

In the space of this blog post it is impossible to list all the opportunities that are out there for adding music to a family vacation — there is literally a world of music available! I hope this has whetted your appetite for putting a little music into your summer.

And to add some books to the feast, here are a few suggestions:

There are plenty of non-fiction books for kids about music, from books about their favorite music stars to books about their favorite instrument. There are also books that take kids all around the world of music.

Dorling Kindersley’s Eyewitness Book, Music, isn’t a read-cover-to-cover book, but is rather a fantastic resource for dipping into and learning about everything from how violins are made, to how an electric guitar works, to how the sitar has developed in India. For more books like this check out the 781, 782 and 784 sections of your public library (Dewey Decimal System).

I’ve found a couple of fantastic middle grade novels that feature music, and that I highly recommend.

Dunces Rock by Kate Jaimet is a fast-paced story about four kids who want to get back their school’s Music and Drama program. Through various hare-brained schemes, and despite encounters with bullies and opposition from the principal, they put together a rock group — but will it sway the thinking of the principal, a devoted country music fan?

A totally different type of book, but excellent as well, is Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan. This book combines magic, music, and history as it weaves a fable about an enchanted harmonica around the stories of three kids whose lives are affected by the harmonica: a young boy in 1930’s Germany; a boy and his brother in Depression-era Pennsylvania; and the daughter of Hispanic farmers in California during World War II. Muñoz Ryan creates a symphony of words through these interwoven stories.


Whether reading about it, or experiencing it first hand, have a great music-filled summer!


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