Inspiring children to love music is a natural part of parenting. It need not be a chore. Humans naturally respond to music. Music communicates emotion and sets moods in a way that no other form of communication can. This is why music swells during the emotional or fast-paced parts of films. We are being told what the character is feeling, and our emotions are being manipulated to empathize with the character. You do not have to inspire children to love music. You must simply make it available to them, and the music will do that on its own.
Lead by Example
Children emulate what they see. If you love music, they will grow to love it too. Run the radio or your iPod on speakers more often than the television. Run it while you’re cooking, cleaning or running errands. Make music a natural part of your environment. If you play an instrument, let them see you play it. Not in a “Would you like to hear mommy play the piano?” sort of way. Let it flow naturally. Fill the house with live music simply as an expression of yourself, and the children will absorb it as freely as they absorb everything else. Do you play guitar? Have your guitar by your side while watching TV together. During commercial breaks, strum the songs from the show.
Make Music Accessible
The more music playing devices you have around your house, the more children will casually use them. They may start with one song they heard you play, and then want to hear it again. Put a radio or CD player in every room and model the behavior of turning it on. Is your music mainly on the computer? Make age appropriate music accounts and headphones accessible at every computer. If you would rather not entrust them with unsupervised computer use, gift them a small CD player, and a CD of their favorite songs from mom or dad’s iPod.
Make Music a Memory
Children will love things with which they associate positive memories.
Sing to them! Sing with them! It doesn’t matter if you have a beautiful voice, it is beautiful to your child.
Take them to see age appropriate live shows. The feeling of live music in a dark arena, swelling through the air and pounding through the speakers will do all the work for you. Afterward, make it fun by going out to ice cream or a fun dinner. By giving them a soundtrack to their childhood, music will always be a part of them.
Or, do the cheap version. Have impromptu dance parties. If you know the children love a certain song, let them turn it up as loud as the speakers will go (the neighbors will live), and encourage them to dance as wildly and freely as they would like. It won’t be long before your children will be begging for Mozart.
Teach Them Music
If a child shows aptitude for music, let them know. Hand out praises such as, “You’re going to be a musician when you grow up,” as if this were the highest compliment. Then let them learn it. Take them to lessons. Places like Bronstein music school have affordable lessons for kids. If you don’t know where to start, check out their website.
Music is a powerful agent that carries a depth as wide as the human emotive spectrum. By creating a musical heritage in your family, you are allowing your children to express, understand and respond to their own emotions and the emotions of others. And it’s not that hard.
Karleia Steiner is a freelance blogger. Away from the office she enjoys spending time with her two daughters and wonderful husband.
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