I grew up surrounded by music. My mother was (and is) a professional flutist, my father has played the French horn regularly since he was a boy. Love of music runs deep. My paternal grandmother was an organist; in first grade I convinced her to give me piano lessons. I continued piano through my school years, and still play occasionally today on the upright piano I inherited from my grandparents. I also played flute, then switched to oboe so I could be “different” than my mom. Needless to say, Toby has a keen interest in music. He loves to sit at my piano with “his” music book and play the keys. We have a variety of musical instruments for toddlers that make a joyful noise throughout house on some days. And then there are the tunes we listen to regularly.
We have a special car ride CD, one that Toby calls his “special songs” (Songs for Saplings tunes). And then there are the typical nursery rhymes and childhood songs that every child loves. More recently, I had the pleasure of singing “99 bottles of [beer, er…] milk on the wall” to my boys to keep them calm while driving. Music is a part of our lives. And with the digital era, I’m ashamed to say we don’t really even have a CD player anymore. Ok, that’s not true. Our computers have CD-rom drives. And we have a stereo system gathering dust somewhere. But smartphones are just easier. Load the mp3s onto the SD card, and you’re good to go. Or if you prefer, you can play streaming music. Either option is so much easier than CDs.
What tips do I have for raising kids who love music? Well, I can only speak from my own experience, but here are three thoughts on music from my childhood:
- Incorporate music into your everyday tasks — my grandmother would whistle while she worked. I loved to listen to her, and now do this myself (though sometimes I hum). I will sing while doing dishes and other chores around the house — it takes my mind off the drudgery and helps me to focus. I’ve noticed my toddler does the same; sometimes I will hear him singing to himself as he plays.
- Sing their own song to them — my mother made up special songs for me as a child, songs which I can still sing today. I treasure those memories of my childhood, lying in bed with the lights out, listening while she would sing. I carried this tradition on with my own boys, and have composed my own song for them. It’s not written down anywhere, so I should probably write it down at some point, but my toddler knows it and it is a familiar song he loves.
- Regular music lessons build character — yes, most people have either good or terrible memories of their music lessons. But more often than not, I hear the regret “I wish my parents had made me stick with it.” I don’t really ever hear the other regret. I had times when I wasn’t thankful about lessons, but overall, I’m glad I stuck with it. Lessons teach the concept of “practice makes perfect,” stick-to-it-ness, and some other desirable character traits.
Here are some resources for you that relate to music. As usual, all links will open in a new window for your convenience.
- Introducing Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” to Young Kids!
- DIY Rainsticks
- Sensory Play – Rainbow Bottles/Music Shakers
- Five Green and Speckled Frogs Activity
- Where to find good quality FREE music for kids
- Set the Tone in Your Home With Music
- Music with my Munchkins
- Mommy and Me: Music with Infants
- Father Christmas Song
- Reindeer Song
- Music Activities & Instruments for Kids
- Classical Train Music: Encouraging a Child’s Love of Music
- R is for Reindeer. Shapes. (Dancing with Jingle Bells)
- 14 Best Classical Music Tracks for Kids
- Songs For 2-5 Year Olds : Singing Songs Will Help Your Child Learn
- Top Ten Toddler Tunes : Best Nursery Rhymes for Toddlers
- modern lullabies for a new generation
- Make a Band using Recycled Musical Instruments Inspired by the Amazon Show Annedroids
Do you have any family traditions when it comes to music? Or maybe some fun activities that you love to do with your kids? I’m always interested to hear how other parents are doing things. Share in the comments below!