Advice Column, Health, Lifestyle

The benefits of classical music in children aged 0 – 7 years

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Early childhood education is probably the most important investment in a child’s life. Exposure to classical music and music education has been proven to be greatly beneficial to the development of the young brain and to promote neuroplasticity in the same way that multilingualism does. Aside from the neurological benefits, musical activity is also a stimulating social experience in a group context where little ones can play, interact and learn.

The Mozart Effect’s research from the late 1990’s has been widely accepted as the quintessential study of the highly beneficial effect of classical music (especially form the earlier eras i.e, Baroque and Classical periods) on the human brain. These studies, along with more recent tests showing how the young “brain lights up” when hearing classical music, were the key instigators in starting the Little Maestros series. We also encourage pregnant moms to join our concerts, as the benefit for the unborn child, from as early as 3 months is huge.


Professional musicians will perform enjoyable and expertly curated classical music while young ones together with their parents and caretakers are invited to join in interactive songs with the use of simple musical instruments. We welcome babies of all ages, as well as pre-school kids, noisy or not, to come and learn about instruments, music and how it stimulates our imaginations.

Parents will also enjoy excellent music on an international standard without having to worry about a small child in a stiff concert environment. The recitals are generally 35 minutes long, consisting of 25 minutes of “straight” classical music in a recital style – with lots of explanation – followed by 10 minutes of nursery rhymes where everyone is encouraged to dance and play along on percussion instruments. Little Maestros also sells approved and high-quality percussion instruments at their concerts.


The opportunity to see and hear a live musical performance is a powerful sensory experience. The awe that such an experience inspires in young children has often been referenced in professional music circles as one that served as a catalyst for an interest in the sophisticated art of performance and music later in life.

We aim to create a positive and vibrant environment to inspire fond memories that young ones may draw on as they grow up to develop their own tastes in music and culture as a whole. A healthy society is one that can critically interact with ideas and thus create a strong sense of heritage and identity both as a group and as individuals. Exposure to classical concerts and music education in a fun and interactive setting is a social investment in the quality of life for our future generations and audiences.


“Concept Concerts, Theatre Music & New Opera” –

BIBLIOTEEK was born in 2010 as a creative platform for musicians, directors, composers, choreographers and designers to collaborate and explore the reinvention of classical music in South Africa. At the helm of this production company is well-known soprano and “musical rebel” Magdalene Minnaar, who saw the need to create more work for artists. The focus of BIBLIOTEEK’s productions is also to grow a bigger, younger and more diverse classical audience. The team has since grown to six passionate co-producers, musical directors and marketing staff.

BIBLIOTEEK continuously strives to create and commission new South African works, including operas, song cycles and cabarets, cultivating new talent in the process. Since its foundation BIBLIOTEEK has been nominated for several awards, including a Kanna (Best Debut Production), WoordTROfees (Best Classical Production), KykNet Fiesta (Best Classical Performance) and Aardklop Aartvark (Ground-breaking work) as well as winning the prize as “Best Overall Production” for the opera Poskantoor at Aardklop 2014.

These productions have been showcased across South Africa to a wide audience ranging from arts festivals to community performances and high-brow classical soirée’s.

BIBLIOTEEK’s mission is to collaborate with artists of all genres, races, ages, nationalities and abilities; experimenting with milieus, genres and timbres – exploring new ways to present forgotten music, heirloom ways to improve new music, and challenging and entertaining our audiences with quality, creativity and beauty; to develop raw talent in our local schools & communities through workshops, and to serve our community by bringing the music to them.

WE LOVE COLLABORATING: with composers, writers, directors, choreographers and artists of all genders, races, ages, nationalities and abilities.

WE LOVE GIVING BACK: to serve our community, by bringing the music to them and to develop raw talent in our local schools & communities.

WE LOVE EXPERIMENTING: with milieus and genres – exploring new ways to present forgotten music; heirloom ways to improve new music; and challenging and entertaining our audiences with quality, creativity and beauty .


Popular opera singer Magdalene Minnaar has always had a passion for children and developmental stimulation through music. Since having her own baby, she has become aware of the need for classical music geared towards young children and their parents.

South African soprano Magdalene Minnaar has entertained audiences across the globe with her versatile voice and enigmatic stage presence, evident in her acclaimed performances with Josh Groban on his recent tour, as well as the female lead in the international touring production Showboat and The Phantom of the Opera. A recent Kyk-net Fiesta and Fleur du Cap nominee, and SAMA winner, Magdalene has won numerous awards and prizes including the Mimi Coertse Bursary Competition (winner), the UNISA Voice Competition (song prize), a Kanna Award as part of the South African Sopranos (Best Classical Production), the Mbokodo Awards (nominee) and also the prize as Best Overall Production at this year’s Clover Aardklop for the opera Poskantoor which Magdalene produced as well as singing the lead role.

After receiving her Honours degree in Music with distinction from the College of Music at the University of Cape Town, she was accepted into the prestigious Cape Town Opera Studio. Since completing her two years at the Studio, highlights include performing as soloist at the opening of the Cape Town Stadium with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Richard Cock and the 20Tenors, as well as the annual RMB Starlight Classics, Last Night of the Proms, Sean Bovim’s spectacular tribute show Queen at the Ballet and Deon Opperman’s multi-media oratorio Die Skepping. In 2009 she was awarded a WBHO bursary for overseas study, which lead her to the New York

Opera Studio where she furthered her studies.

Magdalene started Biblioteek Productions as a platform for creating new audiences and new South African works. Her passion for theatre and music, and relentless vision has lead her down an interesting and highly succesful path in changing the face of classical music in South Africa, through various collaboartions and concert series’ such as IN THE DARK, RISE and CO/MISSION.


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