Car sing-alongs and kitchen dance parties are par for the course. We asked Piano Power parents and friends to share their unique music-sharing traditions. Read on for some fun musical inspiration.
1. Two words: family karaoke.
Parent Beth Kurtzweil, whose sons are 13, 11, 9 and, 7, loved her experience at family karaoke night at The Rock House in Glenview.
“At first the boys were like ‘oh, man’,” Beth said. “But by the end we couldn’t pull them off stage.”
Love it or hate it, karaoke can be a true learning experience for kids. Reading lyrics, performing for an audience, waiting their turn, learning to respect others’ performances— there are some major lessons to be learned beyond karaoke’s goofy fun.
If you’re not too shy to get onstage, kids can witness your own love for music, and see that mom or dad makes mistakes, laughs, and carries on.
(Also, you can introduce them to the amazing, karaoke-friendly world of Bonnie Tyler.)
2. Make it a game.
Rather than Name That Tune, parent Ellen Mazza’s family plays a game that could be called Name That Artist. The rules: When a new song starts, the first to name the artist wins.
“We never say ‘let’s play…’ We all know that if music on, the game is going,” said Ellen, whose blended family includes a child in every year of high school. “The fun part is that once you know about the game, you’re always playing.”
This game presupposes that a.) Music is on at home, and b.) It is actively listened to. Rather than just serving as background noise, music becomes an integrated part of life, requiring attention, memory, and close listening.
3. Life is a musical.
Parent Jeremy Reichardt describes his 5-year-old daughter as a big talker.
“I noticed her wanting to talk faster then she could form words, so I sang ‘You can’t talk, you are only allowed to sing to meeee!’ to some tune,” Jeremy said. “She sang right back with something like,‘OK then, dad. I will sing what I say to youuu!’“
This requires a bit of musical spontaneity on the parents’ part, but you can borrow the melody of any tune you both know.
After the enthusiastic response, Jeremy kept up the game to help channel his daughter’s chatty energy.
“It sets a pace and makes her form words to fit into a tune,” Jeremy said. “But mostly it’s just another silly game we play.”
4. 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 Lesson With Your Kid is Awesome.
Long story short, taking lessons with your kid is probably one of the best creative bonding experiences you can share. And one you’ll never regret.
5. Family concert night.
If your kid is a bit of a ham, this will be no problem. If they shy away from performing their instrument before the family, here’s the secret: You must perform, too. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t played the piano in 25 years. Sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while shaking a jar of popcorn. Bang out your best Chopsticks. Take it lightly and have fun. Your kid will follow your lead.