Kids love music. And, what’s more, getting engaged with music is good for kids. For instance, one study published by researchers at McMaster University last year found that one-year-olds who participate in interactive music classes with their parents smile more and communicate better – even though they may not be walking or talking yet themselves. Plus, immersing yourself in music is just plain fun.
Unfortunately, not all parents are as musically-inclined as their children. If the idea of exploring music with kids leaves you feeling intimidated, we’re here to help. We have some tips that will help you nurture your own mini Mozart, even if you can’t carry a tune to save your life.
Five Tips for Exploring Music with Kids
1. Listen to Different Kinds of Music Together
You don’t have to be a concert pianist to expose your children to great music. Streaming music on your smart phone or even just listening to the radio are great ways to hear a wide variety of musical genres. For preschool-aged children, start with jazz and classical, and blues and rock. Clap along to different tempos. Listen to music in the car. If you’re feeling brave, you may even want to consider taking in a kid-friendly Vancouver concert. As your child gets older, ask about how different music makes them feel.
2. Throw a Dance Party in Your Living Room
One great way to explore musical tempo is to dance along with the music. If you turn on a song with a great beat, even the youngest toddlers will naturally start to move their bodies. Once again, by incorporating different kinds of music you can explore how different genres feel through movement. Improvise a slow ballet to chamber music, or pull out G-rated versions of your old club moves to an upbeat rock song, as you explore music with kids.
3. Make Your Own Music
Playing with instruments is another fabulous way to explore music with kids. Whether you’re strumming a guitar, playing a harmonica, tickling the ivories or working on your drum solo, you’re playing with volume, tempo and tone. If you don’t have a whole lot of musical instruments at your disposal, that’s okay. It’s easy to improvise by banging a wooden spoon on pots and pans, gently clinking a half-filled water glass with a spoon, or making a shaker out of an empty yogurt container and some rice.
4. Sing Together
We know that this one may be intimidating, if you’re not fond of your singing voice. But the truth is that your child will think you sound great, no matter what. If you can’t remember all those childhood classics look online, where you’ll find plenty of YouTube videos and music sheets to give you a hand. Or don’t sing childhood classics – sing songs that you know and enjoy. There’s no rule that says you have to stick with “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider”.
5. Take a Music Class Together
If you want to expand your musical repertoire, or you’d like some help in exploring music with kids, taking a class is a great option. There are no shortage for kid-friendly Vancouver music classes in all parts of the city. Music classes are also a great way to meet other Vancouver moms with kids around the same age. Not only are you giving your child the gift of music, you may be making lifelong friends.
How do you explore music with your kids? Leave us a reply and share your own tips!
This article was sponsored by Music for Young Children. Music for Young Children is a 33 year old Canadian program that provides the best quality music education to young children by blending the pleasure and the joy of music making with sound instruction. In public and private studios all over the world they offer group music lessons to 2-10 year olds. All group lessons are parent participation so you will learn and experience together with your child. MYC classes incorporate a wide variety of musical training, including keyboard, singing, rhythm, movement, composition, ear and sight training, as well as theory, all in the context of an interactive, hands on environment. If you’re looking for a great way to explore music with kids, check out their directory listing here on VancouverMom.ca to find a teacher near you.
Amber Strocel is a writer, aspiring math teacher, suburbanite, wife and mom of two. She believes in the power of the Internet to connect people, and she believes that numbers are the poetry of the universe. You can often find her knitting, sewing, volunteering, working in her garden, and sneaking chocolate when no one's looking. She blogs at Strocel.com and shares her photos on Instagram as @AmberStrocel.