Do you want your child to have a lifelong love and appreciation of music? Well, according to Parentcenter.babycenter.com, it’s easier than playing “Chopsticks”! What you need is a “music-rich” environment, and here’s how to create it:
Sing songs to and with your child. You don’t have to be a Josh Groban or a Trisha Yearwood. In fact, right now your child thinks your voice is the most beautiful voice he or she will ever hear. They’d rather hear you than anyone else! And don’t worry if you’re a little bit offkey. What’s important here is that you’re interacting with your child and showing them how much you value music. Even “Old MacDonald” or “The Wheels on the Bus” become works of art in the arms of a loving parent!
Strike up the band. Turn on the radio, push in the CD tray, or pop in a tape in the car. Simply by clicking a button, you can make music a part of your child’s every day life. Just as a child gets excited by reading due to bedtime stories with a parent, that same excitement can be generated by making music readily available in their world.
Play an assortment of music. Whether your taste matches your spouse’s or you’re on totally opposite ends of the musical spectrum, your child will be receptive to a wide variety of musical styles. By providing such a variety, you’re also providing a rich, stimulating music environment to help her develop her own personal taste that will emerge somewhere around age 8 or 9. Be aware that although there is some wonderful music available for children, you shouldn’t limit your selections to only those available for children.
Play “Finish That Tune.” A fun game to remember especially for those times you’re stuck, sitting in traffic or waiting at the doctor’s office, is “Finish That Tune.” Begin a much beloved song, such as “The Wheels on the Bus” or “Old MacDonald” and then stop. Guess who will probably finish the song for you?
Attend concerts. Here in Atlanta, we are blessed with a number of enjoyable venues that frequently have free concerts or, at the very least, affordable concerts for families with young children. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has Family Events several times a year. The next event is Saturday, May 13th, at 1:30 and 3:30 PM, entitled “Emily Saves the Orchestra.” Read more about it here. Several local universities and colleges also have “Family Concerts” as well. You may find other listings at AccessAtlanta.com. And right here in Decatur, free family-friendly concerts are scheduled on the square each Saturday evening, May 5th - 26th.
Check out books. Reading picture books that you can actually sing, like “Old MacDonald” or “The Wheels on the Bus” or “Animal Serenade” (one of our literary selections from our 18mo – 3yo class, Our Time) is another way for your child to be introduced to music and singing. Books written about the orchestra or other musical instruments also introduces your child to the magic of creating music.
Enroll in children’s music programs. Quoting directly from parentcenter.com:
Kindermusik, a national music program, is a popular choice for children from newborn to age 7. The classes are designed around developmental stages, and the children learn about music through activities such as singing, moving to music, and playing games and simple instruments. The program also offers parents an opportunity to participate with their child.
Need I say anything more?
Dance to the music. Every child loves to dance, especially with Mom or Dad! Put on a favorite song, turn up the sound, and boogie with your baby!
Perform. Who said that only little girls and boys can make music with pots and pans? When’s the last time you hummed into a kazoo or used wax paper and a comb for the same effect? And there’s always an “air guitar” with the broom from the kitchen!
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