Introducing Your Kids to Music
Music for Kids, and the Whole Family!
If you’ve signed up for my emails, you might know that I’m a proud father of two adorable daughters. Most of my piano students are adults, so I haven’t really written much about music for kids. But today I’d like to share with you how my wife and I incorporate music into our daughters’ daily lives.
In case you’ve read my bio, first things first: although I didn’t love the music lessons I had as a child, that doesn’t mean I think music and kids don’t mix. In fact, just the opposite! I want my daughters to hear and enjoy a wide variety of great music. We listen to everything from classical to my personal favorite tunes. I also want to give them age-appropriate exposure to instruments and learning opportunities that fit their developmental needs.
Music for Kids Can Take Many Forms
Recently, I saw an infographic from Mom Loves Best that has some great tips on music for kids. I love how it shows there’s a really wide range of ways to help kids start enjoying music:
Great ideas, right? Reading through Jenny’s post on music for kids gave me some food for thought on more ways to build my daughters’ love of music.
Playing Piano with My Daughters
I always find it a bit strange when people own beautiful grand pianos that are rarely touched, let alone played. Isn’t that thing there to be enjoyed? Ideally, whatever instruments your family owns should be enjoyed as often as possible with your kids – even if you’re no virtuoso. Young children probably won’t notice some missed or misplaced notes. But they will definitely notice if people they love and admire make an effort to play and enjoy music together. I can’t count how many people write to me and say the reason they want to learn piano is because they have such fond memories of their parents playing.
Our girls are pretty young, so we’re very much in the “play” phase of learning about music. Whenever I can, I play our family’s piano for them and let them join in. Of course, I do have to have some basic guidelines in place to help prevent damage (no sippy cups near the keys!). And yes, sometimes the “music” that they attempt to “help” me play are sounds only a parent could love. But that’s okay! My goal in these times is to let my daughters enjoy the songs and to associate music with fun family times.
It’s Okay if You Don’t Play an Instrument
If you don’t have an instrument or know how to play one, there are still plenty of other ways to incorporate music for kids into your lifestyle. Check out your local toy store or Walmart! We’ve bought a great little pink piano and some small noisemakers and toy instruments for our girls to play with and frankly, bang on. At some point, I’m sure it will start to sound more musical. For now, we’re happy to have them enjoy experimenting with some very random sounds and rhythms.
Jenni’s post mentioned another point that really resonated with me – making music for kids part of their daily routine. There’s a lot of research on the benefits of routines for kids, especially at bedtime. My wife and I play music over our Sonos speakers for our daughters every night when they go to sleep. Turning on some calming classical tunes definitely seems to help my girls settle down for bed.
Fitting Music Into Your Schedule
Bedtime isn’t the only part of the day that your kids can benefit from listening to music. For example, mealtimes can get a nice boost from playing some music in the background. If you pick something calming or with a slower tempo, it can even have a relaxing effect on how everyone behaves! (I write more about how music can affect mood and behavior here.) Just make sure to keep the tunes instrumental at mealtimes, to avoid having lyrics interrupt your conversations.
Another way to fit music for kids into a busy schedule: play songs in the car. These days, there are so many places we drive our children to: school, daycare, after-school activities, and more. Why not use some of the time in the car to enjoy family-friendly songs or classical tunes together? Just make sure the volume stays at a reasonable level.
Music for Kids (and Moms and Dads)
If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll eventually develop a list of a few favorite songs. As toddlers, this will probably take the form of a lot more “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Five Little Monkeys” than you’re interested in. But if the repetition is driving you crazy, I recommend you dig around the internet for some fun variations on your child’s favorite tune of choice. You might be surprised how many famous singers have put out their own children albums!
Last but not least, one of Jenny’s final suggestions: finding a music teacher who makes things fun! Not to brag, but based on the feedback I’ve gotten for my online piano course, I think I just might fit the description for this one. If and when my daughters are ready to learn to play piano, I’ll be right here and ready to teach them. 😉
Like I said, I don’t often post about music for kids since I tend to teach adult students. But hopefully you’ve found some ideas in here that will benefit your family. Music can be such an enriching part of life- why not share that with your kids now?
Do you have ways your family incorporates music into your daily routine? What’s worked best for you as you and your kids when it comes to music? Drop me a line or leave a comment to let me know – I’d love to hear from you!