Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert helps with child brain development

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It's a rare opportunity for a group of Milwaukee area children, as they see the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in action! The experience is about more than seeing a concert. It's a way to help the kids, some of whom have special needs, develop.

As the sounds of Tchaikovsky fill the air, students from Penfield Children's Center take it all in. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra puts on the free concert.

Many of the kids are between one and five years old, and have developmental delays or disabilities.  The music is there to help.

"We know from research that music is a huge part of development," said Penfield's VP of Programs, Ann Becker.

Early exposure to music can benefit a child's brain development and perceptual skills, and ultimately improve their language and reading abilities.

"Their social skills improve, their communication improves, their movement improves," said Becker.

The concert is also a way for students with special needs to interact with their peers.

"No matter what the physical or speech or cognitive delay of the child, music is a nice bond that just brings children together," said Becker.

Penfield educators say the experience fits right into their daily lesson plans.

"When they`re brushing their teeth there is singing, when they`re at circle time they are singing, they are singing to identify their colors," said Becker.

What`s so special about this concert, is the live element of this concert. The kids are able to see the instruments being played, and they were even able to touch them.

"The children were walking up to the harp, and the harpist was letting them play their strings," said Ellen Anderson, Penfield's  volunteer coordinator.

From the classics to Christmas carols, the concert brings music to life for the little kids.

Penfield serves about 300 children. Those who were at the concert at the ones enrolled in the childcare program.

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