We know you know music is good for your kids. Mounting evidence shows that exposing them to a moderate (read: not insanely rigorous) music education can help them for the rest of their lives. But it’s not just about giving your children a teaspoon of bitter education so they can benefit later; music should always be a source of joy and an ongoing lifestyle for your kids. The best way to make music a part of your child’s life is to make it a part of yours. We’re compiling a list of ways to make music a part of the whole family. If you have a suggestion, please let us know, and we’ll add it to the list!
1. Show that you actively listen to music, and do it with your kids.
You don’t have to be a trained musician to actively take an interest in music. Don’t just throw on the radio and let it play in the background; put on your favorite tunes, point out what aspects you like about it, and talk about the music afterwards. Did you like that guitar solo? How about the way he hit that high note? Encourage your children to think critically about music from a young age. It’ll go a long way in the future.
2. Take them to concerts
Concerts are where your child will realize music can be communal and shared amongst a thousand people. Everyone sways to the same rhythm, and everyone sings the same tune. There’s really nothing quite like it, so expose your kids early, even if it means attending a Raffi cover band.
3. Write little ditties together
Kids write music all the time. They’re always humming to themselves about what they’re doing. Encourage it! Make up songs yourself. You don’t have to be the next Mozart to make up a song called “roll roll roll the dough.” Making up songs can be a great outlet for creativity, as well as a great way to tinker with musicality and rhythm.
4. Have them accompany you on percussion
If you play music, there’s really no end to what you can do to enrich your kids’ life with it. Play music for them, but give them something to play along. Show them how to beat a drum (or an egg carton with a stick), and have them be in your “band.” They’ll love sharing something you love.
5. Have a dance party
If there’s one thing that comes naturally to little kids, it’s movement. Lots of kids bob and dance before they can talk, so make it into a party! First dance “freestyle,” and then have them follow the leader. This is a surefire way to develop memory, coordination, and rhythm.
6. Take lessons together or separately
If you’ve always wanted to take music lessons, there’s no better time than to sign up when your children sign up. That way, you’ll be more effective at helping them practice, and you can show them good habits by practicing your own songs. If they’re too little to go it alone, enroll in a mommy or daddy and me class. I have no fonder memory than when I got to make my own kazoo and march around with my mom.
7. Do karaoke
If your children are old enough to read, or if they’ve just watched The Little Mermaid on repeat for a year, buy a sing-along video. Watching your favorite Disney characters sing is cool, but pretending you ARE those Disney characters is cooler.