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You just signed your young child up for music lessons. So what’s the best way– which also happens to be the easiest way– to help them succeed?
The answer: Puts lots of music into their daily life.
According to The Importance of Music in Early Childhood Development by Anne Steinhoff on the blog for the Novak Djokovic Foundation, “Parents play the most important role in musical education when it comes to expanding a child’s musical horizon.”
It’s a good thing music is so fun, flexible, and accessible! Here’s 8 creative ways to incorporate music into your family’s everyday life:
1. Car ride sing-alongs.
Plug in the aux, turn up the volume and sing along! Simple as that.
“Like language development, toddlers develop their musical skills through imitating and memorizing rhythms and tones of songs, such as clapping to a beat and singing in tune,” Steinhoff writes.
The same is true for music students of all ages. The more a student is exposed to music, the easier they’ll find their study of music. So encourage your kid to sing and clap along to their heart’s content!
Check out this Spotify playlist for some great family sing-along inspiration. The songs greatly vary in style, rhythm, and pitch— all great tools for training your child’s musical ear and ability.
2. Have a music video-watching party.
YouTube and Vevo make it super easy to watch music videos from any time period. You may need to do a little advanced-screening to choose videos that are child-friendly, or you can just stick to dancey music videos you’re already familiar with from your own childhood. (A few of our faves: Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know?”, Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation”, and Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”)Throw a pizza in the oven, let the apple juice flow and the videos roll. You might just learn a few extra dance moves by the end of the night!
3. Make homemade musical instruments.
Feeling crafty? Making homemade instruments is a fun and musical way to stay busy on a rainy day. Be sure to listen to a fun playlist while your creative juices flow.
With homemade instruments you can:
If you want to keep it simple, just grab some household items (i.e. pots, pans, wooden spoons) and you’re good to go! A great activity for young children, musical instrument hunting broadens kids’ understanding of what music is and how it can be made.
4. Go to a music store.
Have an extra few minutes to spare on the way home from the grocery store? Stop by Guitar Center or a local music store. Let your child play around with the instruments on display and experiment with the variety of sounds they produce. Your kid might even leave inspired to go practice their own instrument.
5. Family karaoke.
Gather the family and get ready for a night of karaoke! You can find a local family-friendly karaoke joint or create one in your own living room.
As goofy as karaoke can get, it actually provides plenty of musical benefits. Your child will get to practice performing for a live audience, build their performance confidence, practice singing, and learn how to be an active and respectful audience member.
6. Take music lessons with your kid.
The benefits of taking music lessons with your kid are too many to list— but we tried in this article about Why Taking Music Lessons With Your Kid is Awesome.
Basically the more involved you are in your child’s musical learning process, the more they will succeed.
“Further research also indicates that parents develop a stronger bond to their children when they enjoy music together. This way music is not only a tool that contributes to the growth and development of a child, but it also helps the family to spend quality time and have fun,” Steinhoff writes.
7. See a concert.
Seeing music performed live is a great opportunity to watch other musicians perform their craft in real-time. It’s inspiring, exhilarating, and serves as another great way to incorporate music into your day.
“It turns out that mere exposure makes an enormous contribution to how musical competence develops.” –ScienceDaily.com
8. Host a family concert.
This could be especially helpful practice if your kid has a recital coming up. It’s a great way to test run what a real performance might feel like. Call up Grandma and Grandpa and have the whole gang sit and listen to your child perform.
9. Make it a game!
Here’s a few game ideas to get you started:
Name That Artist – When a new song starts, the first to name the artist wins. Keep a tally to see which family member knows the most about the music you’ve been listening to.
Rhythm Machine – Sit in a circle. One person starts the Rhythm Machine by doing a simple rhythm that repeats over and over without change. The person sitting to the left of the starter then adds a rhythm. Then the next person adds in a rhythm, and so on.
Dance Off – Test your dancing skills to see who has the best moves. The audience can sing and clap along to encourage the dancers.
Need some ways to turn screen time into music time? Try downloading some of these Teacher-Recommended Music Apps to your family’s iPad or tablet.