Episode 044: Bonnie Simon on Raising Musicians

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Bonnie Ward Simon is President of Maestro Classics, the award-winning classical music company which produces the Stories in Music™ series for children and families featuring the London Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1989-1998, Bonnie was the Executive Director of the Washington Chamber Symphony, the resident chamber orchestra at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC. She has served as an advisor to Scholastic Publications and is an internationally published writer in the fields of music and children.

Bonnie Ward Simon holds degrees in music (Vassar College) and music education (New Jersey State College), as well as Japanese Labor Relations, Modern Japanese History, and Ancient Chinese History (Columbia University). She has also taught middle school music, worked in administration at Carnegie Hall, and written extensively for Washington Parent Magazine. Before moving to Washington, DC, she served on the boards of directors of Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim Museum of Art, and New York City Opera.

Bonnie is the mother of Basil and Sebastian Simon, the stepmother of David, Daniel, James, and Adam Simon, and the pack leader for Lulu Simon, their golden retriever. She loves to sail, skis in the winter, travels, sews, knits, paints, and delights in the seasonal changes in Central Park.

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I really enjoyed my discussion with Bonnie Simon of Maestro Classics. I learned a lot about how the company began, and why it can be so difficult to introduce our children to classical music!

Music is the soundtrack of our lives. We can make our lives so much more interesting with music in our homes, and in our cars while we travel. The type of music is important, too, because we want our families to listen to good quality music, and music that is not degrading.

Classical music is music that is complex, and interesting, and you can listen to it over and over and still hear something new. But, some people think that classical music is an acquired taste. Perhaps we just need to listen to better quality productions of classical music!

What I love about Maestro Classics is that it is a way to introduce our families to classical music in a way that speaks to them on a level that is fun and engaging! My family has listened to “Peter and the Wolf” and “Casey at Bat” and “The Tortoise and the Hare” many times, and they are fun every time! This music, coupled with story, is exciting, and introduces our children to great quality music, and entertainment in a way only classical music can!

Classical music is part of our cultural fabric of art, music, history, culture, and class. It is they type of music that exercises our brains and helps us to develop an affinity for something beautiful, powerful, and inspiring.

Another resource Bonnie recommends for growing an appreciation for classical music is
kickassclassical.com. It’s a site where they pick out the best selections of classical music that make it exciting to listen to.

Please listen through to the end of this episode because I get serious about why all of this even matters! We want our kids to grow up to be producers more than consumers. Being a producer doesn’t mean they become entrepreneurial, necessarily. Our culture at large is steeped in consumerism as a means of coping with stress and anxiety, and life. But, we can never consume enough to ever be satisfied. However, if we could turn to productivity and creativity as a means of coping – WOW! The world would be a different place. Look back at my post about how we will all become whatever we think about, and if we spend our time giving up the opportunity costs that come from consuming in order to take on the benefits of producing, we would be a different people, and we would make a different impact on the world. We just need to be intentional about being productive!

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