News

Our latest endeavour: Relaxed Concerts

27 November 2023

Audience member at Relaxed Concert

“It was fantastic, a wonderful opportunity to experience the music in a low-stress environment. It went fabulously and was enjoyed by all present.”

These are the words of a parent who attended one of our Relaxed Concerts earlier this year. The TSO strives to hold a place for all Tasmanians. However, we understand that our regular concert offerings in the Federation Concert Hall and the like do not suit everyone’s needs and that some families will not feel comfortable in these settings. Our Relaxed Concerts were born out of wanting to make music accessible for all in our state and were created in collaboration and partnership with Psychology and Play Therapy Australia. While still early days, we’ve experienced some beautiful stories from our first round of concerts that we’d love to share with you.

A STORY OF ANTICIPATION AND EXCITEMENT

For one young member of the audience, the excitement began days before the concert after he watched our what to expect video. While watching the video, he was said to have the biggest grin and was intent on relaying the video over the dinner table. Our aim was to familiarize people with the space prior to coming along to remove any anxieties or reluctance to attend. What a fabulous bonus that it created such a level of excitement as well!

A STORY OF OVERCOMING CHALLENGES AND BUILDING ENGAGEMENT

From hearing feedback such as “my toddler loved dancing” and others loving “learning how to be a conductor” it seems we had a lively, engaged audience for these concerts. Director and Principal Psychologist of Psychology and Play Therapy Australia, Katherine Olejniczak, explains that a strong level of engagement such as this is a real positive and can be unusual for some children in a regular concert environment. She believes this was due in part to the carefully constructed program which moved gradually from soft to loud music and only maintained the loud sections for short periods.

Katherine explained the programming allowed the children with sensory sensitivities to move through the discomfort of experiencing loud music and not become overwhelmed because the pieces of music did not stay too long in a crescendo. “Instead, they were able to have an experience where they successfully regulated themselves through the discomfort and re-engage with the enthusiasm and delight as the piece became softer again.”

We are especially proud of this outcome and that these concerts have enabled some to engage with music in such a way that they have not been able to do so in the past.

A STORY OF FALLING IN LOVE WITH MUSIC AND EXPERIENCING MAGIC

As part of the concert each instrument from the orchestra is introduced to the audience with a brief demonstration of what the instrument sounds like. This was a very popular element of the concert, but one particular instrument seems to have gone down a real treat. When the Harp was introduced, the audience heard the beginning of the Nutcracker’s Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsky, possibly one of the most famous harp phrases in history. In this instance a young girl fell in love and claimed to her mother “it sounds like magic” and we tend to agree!

The TSO is incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to achieve with these concerts and are in planning stages for our next round for 2024. Thank you to Katherine from Psychology and Play Therapy Australia for helping us make them happen and we are very excited to have them on board for another year to help us continue to bring these concerts to life.

Our 2024 Relaxed Concert Dates have been announced. Click here to read more about these concerts. If you'd like to support our Relaxed Concerts and our other Community and Schools programs, click here to learn more about how you can help.

TSO Musicians Dave Robins and Rachel Kelly