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