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When Children Shill

We love taking our kids to the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts, which were made famous by the late, great Leonard Bernstein.
The four programs this year were each devoted to a different “capital of music”: Mozart‘s Vienna, Ravel‘s Paris, Mussorgsky‘s St. Petersberg, and Bernstein’s New York.
The final program, held last weekend, was Mussogsky’s St. Petersberg. The conductor, Delta David Gier, began by wandering into the audience and asking kids, apparently picked at random, which had been their favorite program to date.
The first kid said he liked Bernstein’s New York. Why? “Because it was loud.” Another kid liked the Paris program but didn’t say much about it. And a third kid, maybe 7 or 8 years old, preferred Mozart’s Vienna. When asked why, he replied that it taught him a lot about composition. When pressed further, he mentioned that Mozart mixed up minor and major keys in interesting ways.
Amazingly precocious! You could hear the jaws of all the other parents hitting the floor. My 7-year-old is pretty musical but — well, this reply was well beyond her level. (My 8-year-old could tell you Honus Wagner‘s career batting stats but, well, Mozart’s not his bag.)
The concert was typically excellent. When it was over, a few of the musicians came off the stage to say hello to friends and family. Among them was the first violinist. She and the little Mozart lover were sharing a big hug and happy conversation. It looked very much like she was his mom. That’s when it dawned on me that we may have all gotten shilled by an 8-year-old.