Making your home a more musical place for your children…

May 3, 2008 at 9:45 pm | Posted in Children's Music, Kindermusik, Music, Music Making, Musical Instruments, Parenting, Singing | 2 Comments
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Kindermusik educator Amy B. in Plymouth MI recently was giving some advice to a fellow new educator on helping families to make their homes more musical. Thank you Amy for sharing!

Making Your Home More Musical

Here are a few ideas for home–a lot depends on the age of the child, so some will apply better to different ages. Basically, just as elementary school teachers suggest “littering your house with books” to encourage young children’s reading and enjoyment of reading, I would say, “litter your house with music”! That is, put it all around your whole family, so it becomes an important part of your everyday life.

–Use your home materials; use your family activity book for ideas to do at home; do the “homework” projects in Kindermusik Imagine That! (ages 3.5-5 years) and the at-home activities in Kindermusik of the Young Child (ages 5-7 years); practice with your child so s/he can feel successful in class

–Sing, dance, and play music at home–often–Kindermusik CDs, other good children’s music, your own favorite “family appropriate” singers and musicians. Make it a fun part of your family’s day.

–Listen to a wide variety of music–classical, folk, country, jazz, a bit of rock and pop (o.k. can you see my bias showing), music from other countries. Borrow some CDs from the library with out-of-the-
ordinary music to find out what you and your family like.

–Keep a “music basket” with your egg shakers, zig zag blocks, fiddlesticks, resonator bars, slide whistles, drums, tambourines, etc., etc., etc. in it. Put it in the same room with a CD player so it’s easy to put on some music and march, dance, and play–often. Try to avoid the temptation to ask your children to “not make so much noise” 🙂 Of course, some instruments, like slide whistles and loud drums, make great basement and outdoor “parade” instruments!

–When you get to Kindermusik Imagine That and KIndermusik for the Young Child, keep your child’s current instrument and bag very handy for them to get out. Yes, sometimes that means you’ll get to class without your slide whistle, drum, book, folder, or glockenspiel–but so much better to actually use them during the week- -and your child can share with a friend or use a spare from her teacher in class.

–If you–Mom or Dad–play an instrument, play it for and with your child. Doesn’t matter if you played it in junior high years ago and it’s been in the attic since then. Children enjoy hearing it because A–it’s a real instrument, not just the sound of one on CD, and B–it’s Mom or Dad playing it. Ask other family members to share whatever they may play–maybe Grandpa plays a bit of piano, Grandma plays the accordian, or Uncle Joe plays the balilaika (or whatever 🙂 ). It’s a great way to share your family’s culture and history as
well as music, and often others will not think anyone would want to hear them unless they’re asked.

–If you have older children, or older cousins, have a family music night where everybody plays something–whatever instrument they’re learning to play, or sing a song. Have everybody join in for a sing-a-long and/or “family jam” with all those instruments from the music basket.

–If you have relatives and friends with older children, go to some middle school and high school concerts. They’re cheap, usually free, and children can see others who are still learning to play and sing. High school musicians are often very accomplished already. Find out what your local high school is performing for a spring play or musical. Look for local productions of ballet, like The Nutcracker at Christmastime.

–Look for family concerts and events in your area. I know this is harder in smaller communities, but maybe sometimes make it a special event on a trip to a larger city. Orchestras, bands, choirs, parades, theater, ballet, puppet shows, children’s performers, summer concerts in the park…the list is almost endless.

–If you’re not ready to invest in a piano, look for an electronic keyboard–one that is more than a kids’ toy without being a huge investment. Put in in a place where your child can easily play it (not “play with it”) and explore it–simply expect them to treat it kindly and gently (playing with fingers, not fists or feet). You could even consider looking for a used child-size violin or guitar–not to start lessons on it, just to explore and play.

–Try to avoid the temptation to rush into formal lessons–again a great reason for Kindermusik for the Young Child since it is process, not performance based and is age- and developmentally appropriate!

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2 Comments »

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  1. Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

  2. Thanks for passing this along Julie, I think I’m going to pass it along on my blog too! Hope all is well!


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