Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How to Get Children Interested in Music

First Steps to Starting Your Child in Music

Recently, I had a great visitor, Angie@keepbelieving, comment on my blog. This is what she said:

“…I don't even know where to start with my kids. We have no instruments. My husband and I have never played anything. I can't read music and I don't know what first steps to take with my 5 and 6 years old boys.”

I have received many questions like Angie’s, so I have compiled a list of the first steps to take to help your child get integrated in music:

1. Listen to music daily. Play a CD for your child everyday as part of his or her daily routine. I like to play different styles of music everyday for my children during their snack time. I tell them who the musical artist is and what style of music they are listening to.

2. Take your child to a music concert.

3. Expose your child to many styles of music. For example, your child may be more interested in one musical style over another.

4. Make musical instruments/crafts. This is a great way to get your child interested in music at a young age.

5. Sing to your child. Teach your child a new song often. I hear many a parent comment that they don’t want to sing to their children because they don’t like the sound of their own voice. That is okay! I promise you that your children would rather hear you sing than not at all. For many children, singing time is a favorite part of their day.

6. Turn on music and dance with your child to the beat. This is a great way to bond with your child and to help your child feel the music.

7. Give your child musical toys. Some examples (although there are many) are as follows: a play keyboard, drums, maracas, tambourines, radios, xylophones, and guitars.

8. Learn about music. It’s never too late to start! Since the best way to teach is by example, if your child is seeing you learning about music, then he or she may want to learn about music, also. For example, you can take music lessons or teach yourself how to play an instrument by going to a music store and buying an instructional book.

9. Enroll your child in a school band, choir, or orchestra program. These programs start as early as 5th grade and are a great way to start your children in music. Even if your child is in home school, most public schools will let your child participate in their music programs. The great thing about school programs is if you don’t have an instrument for your child, they have instruments to borrow.

To enroll your child in one of these programs, go to your local public school and talk to the music director about signing up!

10. Find out about music store programs. Many such stores have programs your child can participate in. For example, a local music store here in Alaska has a summer band program. This program has weekly rehearsals and a concert they put on at the end of the summer. Check out your local music stores to see what they offer!

11. Start your child in private music lessons. This is an excellent way to help your child become interested in music. Sometimes private music lessons can be pricey, but the price is well worth it!

When do you start private music lessons? Some private music teachers will start children as early as 3 years old. Generally, a good time to start private lessons is when your child learns to read.

Finding the right teacher is essential when getting started in private music lessons. Make sure you do your research. To do the research, you can ask other students, moms of students, public school music teachers, and local music store personnel their opinion of who a good teacher is. Once you find a teacher, ask him or her if you can sit in on a lesson before you sign up to see if you are a good match. (Many teachers will let you sit in on a lesson.)

If you feel private music lessons are too costly, local colleges and universities have upper-class music students who give lessons. Most of the students are great and cost a whole lot less. Make sure you do your research. Ask the music professors at the college or university who they recommend.

12. Rent a musical instrument from a local music store. Most music stores will let you try different instruments before buying or renting. Some music stores even offer a free music lesson with your rental! Depending on the instrument you rent, most rentals can run between $20.00 – $60.00 a month.

Have fun!

For more information about learning music, check out my post 10 Reasons Why Children Should Learn Music.


Marie N. said...

As I'm reading blogs this morning my son is practicing his piano next to me.

I wore out lullaby tapes when nursing my kids as tiny babies.

Janet said...

Hi, thanks for stopping by the 32-aker woods! This is a great blog. My kids are both proving to be quite musical. My 4-year-old daughter likes to sing along to Elton John as well as Wee Sing CDs. Both kids "play" the piano. We do have an excellent teacher in town and I'll be starting the Queen soon.

Scrapping Servant said...

Thank you for writing all this... it is nice to see that I am doing some things right even though I cannot afford much for my kids.

Drea (Monkey Monkey Underpants) said...

I agree, I think exposure is really key. I belong to the choir at my church and the week after my little monkey was born I started taking her with me to choir practice. Now at five months she looooves music. She "sings" with us at practice and at mass. When the radio is on she loves wriggling around. Even though I technically can't read music and don't have any instrumental skills music is so important to me and I'm glad I can pass this love on to my little girl!

Erica said...

I love to sing to/with my kids and I can tell it's rubbing off on them! My two-year-old will sometimes ask for some juice in a singy-songy voice: "Can I have some JJJUUUIIIICEEEE please?"

Motherhood for Dummies said...

SUper de duper cool Andrea!

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

These are great tips. Thanks for this starting point. We do some of these - sing a lot, listen to music. My hubby LOVES all kinds of music, but mostly rock n roll. Yesterday, my 6 year old came in with friends asking for Daddy's IPOD, which is naturally off limits, but he asked me if I would turn on the stereo outside so they could listen to rock n roll and I think it was my husband's proudest moment EVAH! as a Dad so far.


Philigry said...

thanks for the information! my two oldest love music, and dancing. My son wants to play the guitar and the trombone!

Rosemary Bogdan said...

M and M, thank you for visiting my blog! I love yours!! Your big and little hand on the piano is darling. I am a huge believer in music education and you have some wonderful ideas here. I'll be back!

Rhea said...

I used to sing to my children...until they got old enough to tell me to stop or run from the room covering their ears. hehe

My 11 yr old chose band as an elective this year, and he will start playing the trombone once school starts! He's really excited.

Great music tips. I wholeheartedly agree with all of them.

Mandy said...

Okay, I came across your blog through another blog and I am so glad I did! I hope you don't mind but I think I will be coming back as I just love what you have done! Great blog!

My 8 y/o son was in private piano lessons for 2 years and he got burnt out and his teacher kicked him out rather rudely and he won't go near a piano now! (His teacher did call and apologize for her behavior since then, but I think he is already scarred!) Anyhow, reading your post helps. Maybe I will try a few of these things and see how it goes and maybe he will love the piano again someday.

Emily ~ Little Window Shoppe said...

I am so glad that you stopped by my blog. I LOVE music and have played the piano since I was 6. It is my passion. This was a wonderful article. We have a keyboard at home and my 1 year old loves to "practice" when he sees me play on it. I think your blog is great too!

Babystepper said...

I would love to get my little guy in piano lessons. We own a piano even, so that would help, but no one in our town is currently offering lessons. (I live in a very small town. Oh, and he's only 4. We listen to music a lot, though, and he and his sister have all sorts of pretend instruments. I play the drums for our church, actually, but I'd prefer my little ones learn a "real" instrument. =P

Lori said...

What a great post! My only musical experience is learning to play the accordian to earn a girl scout badge. However, I know the benefits of learning to read music and being exposed to various types of music. I plan on encouraging my daughter to learn an instrument. Keep up your important work!

Melinda said...

Samantha very early on, was able to tell the difference between jazz and everything else. Something about that rhythm section just made it stick out to her! We also play a game where if we're listening to music (live or otherwise) I ask her "What instrument is that playing?" and she's getting pretty good

Lilibeth said...

What an excellent blog and great advice today. My grandchildren have learned so much music, just because their parents deliberately exposed them to it. It's great to see them dance to it and "sing" Hall of the Mountain King...punctuating it with hand motions.

MoziEsmé said...

Another wonderful post! I really need to expand my music library for my baby.

I have totally neglected my own music practice because there just doesn't seem to be time anymore and baby doesn't sit still while I play. But we do sit together at the keyboard fairly regularly (I let her run the show), and I play a couple of kiddy tunes on the flute for her and don't stress when she tries to imitate me and bashes the flute around. Fortunately it's a junked up flute! And she has her own recorder that we are practicing blowing on - still not there yet.

I have great memories of my mom practicing the piano on Saturday afternoons while the rest of the famility napped or read or vegetated around the house . . .