Jane Roper (and her readers in comments), responded to my question about the level of parental participation at concerts with “kid friendly” music. She sees both sides, naturally given her husband’s trade (performer) and the fact that she’s often an audience member. Her take:
I don’t particularly like to be forced to sing or dance or act like a chicken or hop like a bunny if I don’t feel like it, or if it makes me feel like an idiot. And I don’t like when performers lay on a guilt trip …
I do think that it sucks when parents ignore the performance or their children completely — using the time to chat with each other or mess around on their Blackberry. I think it’s totally disrespectful to the performer, and sets a bad example for kids.
Jane, and her kids’-concert-performing husband Alastair Moock says the entertainer has some responsibilities here too: don’t belittle the parents.
Alastair does try to engage parents. He may ask them to sing, or invite them to do the motions that go with a particular song. But — as he pointed out when we talked about this — only if it doesn’t infantilize them. … He isn’t going to ask them to do something idiotic.
It’s at the core of what he believes and tries to do when it comes to making music for kids and families: it shouldn’t condescend to kids, nor should it infantalize adults. (Or drive them crazy.)
Agreed. Here’s my offer to performers: You don’t insist I crawl around on the ground making barnyard noises, and I’ll refrain from checking my e-mail. Seriously though, if the music is good and the kids are having fun, I’ll be more inclined to enjoy it with them one way or another. Sometimes the best way to enjoy it is to sit back and watch the show. I think that’s OK, so long as it doesn’t involve disrespecting the performer.
Good advice Jane!