The concert is over but not for everyone. At the end of the hall, there is little Pavel, still dancing and singing. Music has taken him and won’t let go. We are standing next to his smiling mother, Tzvetelina, who is telling us that he is always like that, probably because she has been playing music or singing to him at every opportunity. As for the Pillow Concerts, he keeps asking about them, and we can see it – they rarely miss a concert. That is why we decided that Tzvetelina, Pavel and Yasen will be our family of the month for July.
MODO: How old is Pavel?
Tzvetelina: Three years and three months.
MODO: How long have you been coming to the Pillow Concerts?
Tzvetelina: Since he was a baby, probably six months old. I don’t remember exactly.
MODO: Do you remember which was your first concert?
Tzvetelina: What I remember from our first time is that Pavel was very quiet and calm throughout the concert. He was just an infant but I felt that he was really listening and the music was getting to him. Since then we have been coming regularly, we seldom miss a concert.
MODO: Do you notice any change in your child since you have been attending the concerts?
Tzvetelina: After he started talking, he has been urging me to bring him himself. “Mommy, when are we going to the pillow concert?” or “I want to go to the pillow concert”. Actually, ever since he became a more conscious person, he has been the one who initiated most of our outings to the concerts. He just wanted to go and was looking forward to.
MODO: Do you have a favourite concert?
Tzvetelina: We have a very nice memory of one of the Pillow Concerts. The one at which you had some multimedia images playing on the background. This is where we saw for the first time some scenes from the Toy Story movie, which became our most favourite film. We will always associate it with the Pillow Concerts.
MODO: Does Pavel have any favourite instruments?
Tzvetelina: I’m not sure if he has any preferences but he certainly recognises many of them now. Last winter, for instance, we went to a concert with folk music and traditional instruments (fiddles, bagpipes and so on). I happened to know one of the musicians, Pavel and I went to see him after the concert and the two of them had the following conversation: “Hi, I’m Eddy and I play the fiddle. What about you?” – “Hi, I’m Pavel and I play the violin”.
Yasen: I cannot help noting that this was a very professional way to reply.
MODO: How did you choose to expose your child to classical music?
Tzvetelina: He has been listening to classical music before being born.
MODO: Because you often listen to classical music?
Tzvetelina: Actually, I have never been a big classical music fan. I used to listen to it while pregnant because I knew that it is good for the child’s emotionality and psychological development. This is how it began. Then, when he was just a tiny little thing and I played him some of the classical music pieces I used to listen to during my pregnancy, he would feel better. I have experimented a lot. When he used to cry or express some other emotion, I would play different compositions and he would calm down.
MODO: How did you learn about the Pillow Concerts?
Tzvetelina: From the social networks. And I am really happy that we manage to get in every time. Even at the afternoon concerts when the turnout is big.
MODO: What is it that you like here?
Tzvetelina: The fact that you introduce children to different types of music. Also the musicians change quite often; the pieces are short and specially selected to appeal to kids; you don’t have to sit still or be stuck to a chair.
Yasen: And the whole thing happens in a very friendly environment.
Tzvetelina: Yes, kids play and socialise all the time, while taking their fair share of music for which they have come in the first place.
MODO: What would you like to hear at a Pillow Concert? If you are to choose the programme, what would you include?
Yasen: This new initiative to present different cultures through music is very good. It is both interesting and useful for the kids. We live in the 21st century, people travel.. We would love if you could continue these presentations.
Tzvetelina: Also if you did a Russian music concert. Pavel is fascinated with Russian cartoons. Also Russia has a rich culture and I believe he would like it.
Yasen: You could come up with an interesting way to show the kids where each country is located. Subconsciously, they will associate it with the music and it will register in their minds.
Tzvetelina: Maybe there could be some more narrative presentations during the concerts, although some of the kids are really small. In any case, it would be interesting for those who are three years or older. They already know about countries and different peoples, they are curious to learn how they look like, what do they eat, how do they dress… It would be nice if there were someone to tell them about these things. Concerts, which involve singing, are also a good option. They keep the attention quite a lot.
MODO: What do you like to do with your child?
Tzvetelina: We do everything together. We love to read fairy tales, play theatre, study English, go crazy in the park – everything.
Yasen: Answer innocent questions.
Tzvetelina: And searching for answers.
Towards the end of our conversation, Pavel stopped dancing and joined us.
Tzvetelina: What do you like most about the Pillow Concerts?
Pavel: I love the piano.
Tzvetelina: Something else?
Pavel: Veneta. (Artistic Director of MODO – Bulgaria, pianist and creator of the Pillow Concert series)
Tzvetelina: I want to tell you something before we go. What you are doing is really great. Don’t stop. I have brought many mothers with me and they are all very happy and keep coming. At the beginning, we used to communicate so that we could come together; now we just know that we will be here. We are becoming a small community.
Yasen: And never stop dreaming; dreams do come true.
Interview by Didi Brankova, Pillow Concerts’ coordinator.
Photography by Minko Minev, http://minkominev.com