7 Ways to Create a Lifelong Love of Music in Your Child
Suzy St. George
Music brings wonder to the world. It touches something deep within each of us in ways that we sometimes can’t even express. While we all seem to have a natural inclination to enjoy music, as parents it’s up to us to help our children developa truly lifelong love of music. The ability to understand and appreciate many different musical styles and forms is a gift we give to our children that will stay with them for the long term. It’s something that will serve them well in social situations and that will enrich their livesoverall. Here are some ways you can help your child appreciate and enjoy music from an early age:
Start during pregnancy.You don’t have to wait until your child is old enough for formal music lessons. Experts tell us that babies respond to audible stimuli while still in the womb. You can start exposing your child to music – allsorts of music – while you’re still pregnant. There is even some evidence that suggests listening to classical music in the womb may contribute to better academic performance down the road.
Integrate music into your daily routines. Music should be part of your child’s life on a daily basis, even as an infant. Singing your baby to sleep, or playing some light jazz while he takes a bath can be ways to associatefeelings of comfort with music. Don’t let a day go by where your baby isn’t exposed to music of one sort or another. Take advantage of that natural urge to dance. Once a baby becomes a toddler, the natural response is to dance when they hear a familiar song. Encourage that activity. When a song comes on and your little one starts to wiggle,turn it into a game. Wiggle around with her, and turn it into a bonding experience as well as one that will increaseher love of music. Get started early with music lessons. Instructors vary in how old they want a child to be before they can start lessons. Some piano teachers like students to be at least five years old; at that stage, they have the motor skills andthe ability to sit still for at least several minutes at a time. On the other hand, there are programs such as the Suzukimethod, in which a child as young as two or three can take lessons. With this type of lesson, the parent attends aswell and takes on the role of teacher as well as student in the music education process. Make practice rewarding. Practicing music shouldn’t make your child angry. Find ways to encourage practice, which could include a reward system. Discuss music with your child. As your child gets older, talk with your child about music. Tell him how a specific piece makes you feel, and ask him to do the same. Engage in interactive activities with one another surroundingmusic, such as creating a storybook around a song or simply drawing some pictures to go with a given piece. Forolder children, talk about lyrics and their meanings, as well as similarities a given piece might have with otherpieces. Expose your child to all kinds of music, even music you don’t like.Just because you don’t like the latest music to hit the charts doesn’t mean your child won’t like it. Just as you want to help your child appreciate music that maynot be intuitive for her to appreciate, you should learn to do the same for her. Encourage your child to reservejudgment on music based on its genre or style alone, and talk about the many elements of the music instead. Asong with ridiculous lyrics may have amazing orchestration, and a song with blazing guitar solos might actuallyhave a fairly deep and complex meaning. All children are born with a basic appreciation of music. As a parent, it’s up to you to cultivate that appreciation, and turn it into a true love and passion that will last your child a lifetime. About the Author Suzy St. George is a blog writer at TakeLessons . Since 2006, TakeLessons has helped thousands of students discover their passion through music, by matching them with the top local musicteachers across the nation. These certified music instructors specialize in teaching guitar, piano, singing and more.