Music was a powerful force in my childhood. My sisters and I all took formal music lessons: singing, piano, you name it. But our love of all things musical started much closer to home. The musical memories that mean the most to me look more like a road trip jam session and singing with my dad in church.
These days, I’m inspired to immerse my son in the same music loving environment. How can I create an atmosphere in my home that will encourage musical expression and creativity?
For the answer, I went to the best source I know, my sister Liz Jarrett! Liz is an expert in the field of music. She has a B.A. in Piano Performance, graduate certificate in Jazz Piano, and is a member of the Music Teacher National Association. Not only does she have 20 years of music teaching experience, but she has an adorable two-year-old daughter who can match pitch and rhythm well beyond her years. She’s the real deal y’all, and she knows her stuff. Without further ado, here are four tips from a pro on how to inspire a love of music in your children.
(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.)
“Kids learn better by rote. They will learn a song much faster when they copy you rather than if you teach them music notation. And it’s more fun!”
Where and when to sing?
- Sing on car trips. Nothing like a captive audience to teach music appreciation. Wink. Wink.
- Sing while you clean house together. Music makes chores fly by in our house!
- Sing during bedtime, eating, and potty routines.
- Sing to encourage good habits. Little J really responds to the “Clean Up Song.” It’s a lifesaver!
What to sing? It’s more than nursery rhymes!
- Create your own songs and melodies. Try “scatting” a melody and have your child echo back. Watch The Jungle Book for some hilarious inspiration!
- Sing action songs. Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes; Deep and Wide. Get those muscles moving!
- Recite rhymes. These are crucial in developing rhythm.
- Sing church songs. Jesus Loves Me is a favorite!
- Belt out a patriotic song. I have wonderful memories of singing “She’s a Grand Ol’ Flag” on family road trips!
- Stretch their limits. Don’t think your toddler can handle more complex melodies and rhythms? You’ll never know until they try! Don’t be afraid to teach harder songs to your kids. They just might rise to the occasion.
Does your singing sound more like a parrot squawk than a nightingale melody? Don’t stress. The benefits of singing with your child are proven regardless of your singing skill.
“You don’t have to be a great singer to help your child connect with music.”
2. Listen to Music
An easy, painless way to encourage a love of music is to listen to music! The benefits are huge.
- Music changes moods. So vital for both moms and kids!
- Music encourages gross movement and fine motor skills.
- Music encourages creativity and healthy risk-taking! Do you want to raise confident kids? Teach them to be musical!
Now, if your brain works like mine, you’re thinking, “There’s no way I’m going to listen to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song all day long. Kid’s music just grates on my nerves!” While there is a big benefit of listening to music geared toward kids, by no means am I endorsing listening to music that will slowly drive you insane. Open up your options and expand your child’s musical horizons! Try your favorite family friendly artist, or amp up your Pandora playlist. Listening to music together can be enjoyable for everyone in the family. That means you too moms!
Liz also recommends attending live music performances together:
“Live music lets kids learn from the best. Plus, they get that real-time connection between hearing the music and seeing it being created.”
Try out your local church, concerts in the park, or create a family jam band!
3. Play with Musical Instruments
There are so many easy ways to bring music into your child’s playtime! Take a break from your child’s regular toys and display a few musical options to set the stage for music appreciation. Check out this list of our favorite musically themed toys:
- Munchkin Mozart Magic Cube
- Melissa & Doug Band in a Box
- B. Parum Pum Pum Drum
- FREEBIE: break out your pots and pans, fill glass jars with water for a DIY xylophone, and get creative!
4. Attend Music Classes
Formal music classes are a great way to encourage a more in depth understanding and love of music.
“At its core, music is all about relationships.”
Musicians work together to create magic, and communicate that magic with their audience. Music classes can help kids tap into the interactive part of creating music. They’ll learn interpersonal skills like taking turns, encouraging each other, and working together toward a common goal. This give and take is wonderful training for young kids!
Here are some music class options to get you started:
- Your local library. Our library hosted a drum circle event during their summer program series. Many events at your library may be FREE as well.
- KinderMusik can help you find the perfect music class for your family.
- DIY! If you’re feeling particularly bold and courageous, team up with a few moms in your neighborhood to create your own weekly or monthly music class. Check out these resources for no-stress, fun-filled curriculum.
- 101 Music Games for Children: Fun and Learning with Rhythm and Song
- Teaching Little Fingers to Play: A Book for the Earliest Beginner
- Singing Lessons for Little Singers
I can’t wait to give Liz’s tips for raising musical kids a try in my home. Little J will love exploring music with me! Join in, and give your kids the rich musical environment they need to thrive!
I would love to know if one of these resources was particularly helpful! Let me know in the comments below.
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In this eBook, I give you all the tools you need to make that happen for your family. From birth to high school, I’ve gathered the key ingredients necessary to raise kids who have a thirst for knowledge. Now, doesn’t that sound tantalizing?
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