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Live Music for Denver Kids

Teach your children to appreciate music with these local programs.

Early exposure to music fosters an appreciation for art throughout life. It boosts creativity and has been shown to help children strengthen math skills and cognition. The greater Denver area provides numerous opportunities for children to experience, and learn from, live music. 

“Experiencing live performances brings people together as a community, fostering compassion and the next generation of opera and music lovers,” says Dianela Acosta, executive artistic director for the Boulder Opera Company. 

Check out these opportunities for kids to explore the world of music: 

Meadow Music

All summer long, the dynamic musical duo Jeff and Paige teach kids about nature and science through interactive play and music in the Meadow Music program. Each one-hour concert includes dancing, dramatic play, and song. Audience participation is encouraged. Themes often bring Colorado history and culture to life as they incorporate everything from local wildlife to topography. Running for 18 straight summers, many families enjoy picnics before or after each performance. 

Ages: three to nine

Dates: Sunday mornings 10:30 a.m., Monday evenings 5:30 p.m., from early June to August

Price: free 

Location: Chautauqua Green, Boulder

Tiny Tots Inside the Orchestra

For an immersive musical experience for young children, check out the Tiny Tots Inside the Orchestra program. Surrounded by a more than 30 piece orchestra, movement and dance are encouraged as the ensemble plays around the attendees. Kids learn about music from around the world, get close-up introductions to instruments, and discover how sound works. After each performance, families are invited to stay to meet the musicians and see the workings of each instrument. Activity books are available for purchase related to performance themes. The Tiny Tots program is also available virtually. 

Ages: zero to seven

Dates: Music of the World, June 12 and 18, 10 and 11:30 a.m; Meet the Instruments, August 6, 7, and 14, 9:30 and 10:45 a.m.

Price: $15 or $50-$60 for performance packages 

Location: varies around Denver metro

Check websites of all programs before attending; days and times are subject to change.

Colorado Music Festival 

The Colorado Music Festival, held each summer, features a 45-minute family concert and other concerts for older children. This year’s Tubby The Tuba brings laughter, props, and interactive storytelling while introducing children to instruments, using the composed piece, Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. The Kaleidoscope concert features colored lights and audio/visual enhancements to make concert goers feel like they are looking through a kaleidoscope. A Midsummer Night’s Dream combines music with the words of Shakespeare. Anthony McGill adds dramatic fire to the telling of Stravinsky’s Firebird—based on a Russian fairy tale—through the notes on his clarinet. 

Ages: three and up 

Dates: July 3 (family concert), July 15 (Kaleidoscope), July 31 (Midsummer Night’s Dream), August 4 (Firebird)

Price: $10 for family concert, $25-$75 for other concerts 

Location: Chautauqua Auditorium, Boulder

Colorado Symphony Movies in Concert 

One of the Colorado Symphony’s signature events is big-screen movie showings that accompany a live symphony. These magical nights run year-round, featuring films including Harry Potter and cartoon classics like Bugs Bunny. Holiday films enhance the season with movies such as Nightmare Before Christmas and Home Alone. This family-friendly programming offers a chance for families to see how important music soundtracks are in telling the story. They also offer sensory-friendly concerts for children needing less stimulation. The Half Notes program, offered in the Bach Room before concerts, includes an instrument petting zoo, composition station, and concert-themed crafts and activities. 

Ages: three and up 

Dates: year-round with a higher concentration of events from October to December

Price: $15-$98 (tax not included)

Location: Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver

Boulder Opera Company 

Exposing children to opera through story, Boulder Opera Company holds programs through schools as well as live performances. In the fall, a production of Puss in Boots will be brought to schools. In December, the tale of Hansel and Gretel comes to the stage through operatic composition, with an abridged preview of Hansel and Gretel performed at the Wow! Children’s Museum and the Lafayette Library in November. 

Ages: three and up 

Dates: December 9-11

Price: $18-$30

Location: Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder

Petite Musique 

Every year, Petite Musique—an additional offering from the Colorado Symphony—features a theme from various story books and folk tales, such as this year’s The Three Little Pigs. The concert is performed in both English and Spanish with a focus of introducing children to the instruments in a 16-piece orchestra. Singing, dancing, and play are all a part of the interactive component. With a “commitment to make symphonic music accessible to all,” Petite Musique performances are also available through virtual programming. Denver residents can ask for a free copy of the featured book at any of the 27 Denver Public Library branches. 

Ages: zero to seven

Dates: varies, see website

Price: Free-$5 depending on location 

Location: varies, but includes the Parsons Theatre at Northglenn Recreation Center and the Broomfield Auditorium

Opera Colorado

Opera Colorado offers student matinees—abridged versions of an operetta that are edited to be age appropriate. Older children may attend various dress rehearsals for a reduced rate. Brain Breaks, Family Day at the Opera, and Story Time sessions, available in person or virtually, are other ways Opera Colorado exposes school age children to music. 

Ages: five and up

Dates: varies, see website 

Price: $12 for students, $15 adult chaperone, prices vary for other educational opportunities 

Location: Opera Colorado Opera Center or Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver

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