Children’s Programming at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute

Children's Programming at Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute
Carnegie Hall’s Family Day, 9/22/19. Photo by Chris Lee

Programming at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute

Carnegie Hall is one of the oldest cultural institutions in NYC to see prolific artists and performances. You and your family can also enjoy free programming at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute.

This includes the upcoming Fall Family Day: String Fling where kids ages 3–10 and their caregivers can enjoy an interactive and playful open house. This includes tons of fun activities where families can explore string music from around the globe. They will be able to learn about the different sounds of string instruments, play games, listen to lively performances, and dance.

Children's Programming at Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute
Three vibrant New York City-based artists perform in My City, My Song, a colorful, interactive concert that provides an opportunity for kids to learn about New York City’s diverse musical and cultural traditions. Athens-born pianist, accordionist, and singer Magda Giannikou performs exuberant music rooted in Greek traditions. Indian singer Falu Shah blends Eastern and Western music into a unique “Indie-Hindi” style. Kora player and singer Yacouba Sissoko shares stories and songs from his native Mali.

To learn even more, we spoke Tiffany Ortiz, Director of Early Childhood Programs for Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, who provided additional information about this fun event as well as other offerings at Carnegie Hall for families.

Children's Programming at Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute
Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute presents Spring Family Day, 4/14/2022. Photo by Chris Lee

Westchester Family: How did the idea for the Fall Family Day: String Fling come about?

Tiffany Ortiz: Each year, Carnegie Hall presents free Family Days, featuring a range of musical workshops and performances. These interactive days, recommended for families with children ages 3-10, allow families to choose their own adventure as they explore new themes and activities. Annually, we choose specific themes that families can explore together, everything from musical genres to instrument exploration, historical movements, and more.

In April 2020, and as part of the centenary of violinist Isaac Stern’s birth, we planned to celebrate string instruments across cultures and genres beyond the orchestra. When the pandemic hit, we were unable to host Family Days and this idea was put on pause. We had an incredible relaunch of Family Days last Spring, connected to the Hall’s Afrofuturism festival and this Fall we are excited to revisit our String Fling celebration.

Westchester Family: What can of programming can families enjoy at the Fall Family Day: String Fling?

Tiffany Ortiz: Families can expect a range of activities from exciting live performances to musical workshops where they can sing, dance, listen, play with instruments, and create art.

Families will learn about string instruments and conduct a miniature performance with members of PUBLIQuartet. They will enjoy a relaxing deep-listening experience featuring various string instruments as they play and dance along with an Afro-Brazilian capoeira band. Additionally, families will learn a series of line and other folk dances, and take in an energetic live performance with the kora and other West African instruments led by Yacouba Sissoko and his band and featuring guest artist Marilyn Castillo. And don’t forget our family photobooth!

Children's Programming at Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute
Guitarist Austin Hughes high fives a young audience member at a Carnegie Kids performance by Elizabeth Mitchell and You Are My Flower.

Westchester Family:  Why do you think music is important for kids at this age?

Tiffany Ortiz: Music is incredibly important for young children, both developmentally and socially. Music, and the play that accompanies it, can promote language learning, early motor skills, social skills and introductions to /celebration of cultures. It can provide fun and rich opportunities for imagination and creativity, as well as social interaction and connection with others.

We strongly believe in providing engaging musical opportunities for children, as early as infancy, and for parents to engage in music as well, which can support parents’ wellbeing and strong connections between parent and child. We have worked very closely with evaluators at Wolf Brown to examine the impact of music on young children, which you can find here: Why Music Making Matters: Singing, Playing, and Moving in the Early Years  and here: Making a Joyful Noise: The Potential Role of Music Making in the Well-Being of Young Families.

Westchester Family: What other family programming do you offer?

Tiffany Ortiz: In addition to Family Days, we offer a range of family programming that can be found here.

Early Childhood Performances (ages 0-2): Families with babies and toddlers (ages 0-2) are invited to Carnegie Hall’s Resnick Education Wing to experience interactive early childhood performances. Each performance invites young children and their caregivers to play in a world of sounds, words, and music-making together. In 2019, Carnegie Hall commissioned a new performance, Camille’s Rainbow, to premiere at Carnegie Hall October 24- 28 2022.

Sing With Carnegie Hall (ages 3-6): Imagination and learning take flight in this at-home sing-along series for families and caretakers with children ages 3­–6. Hosted by singer-songwriter Emily Eagen and featuring guest artists from around the world, each mini-episode inspires kids to move and sing to classic playtime songs and discover new music from cultures around the globe.

Musical Explorers (grades K-2): Discover music from around the world that is found right here in the city, including Gullah music with Quiana, traditional Malian music with Yacouba, and hip-hop with Soul Science Lab. Free pre-concert activities take place in Zankel Hall one hour before the performance. Concerts take place this January 14 2022 at 12:00pm and 3:00pm and on May 13, 2023 at 12:00pm and 3:00pm.

We also work with families and babies through our community and social impact programs, including the Lullaby Project, a songwriting program with parents and caregivers who write personal lullabies for their babies, and Big Note Little Note, a ten week music class for caregivers and infants in partnership with local community organizations..

Families can also access our Family Resource Page with additional family activities, video, audio, and more.

Westchester Family: Anything else to add?

Tiffany Ortiz: Our Spring Family Day will take place on Sunday April 30, 2023 at 12:00pm – save the date!

Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute Details

Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis. Families can drop by for a visit, or stay for the whole day.