Me, I’m just an average home educator, but even I’ve had moms come to me for advice and suggestions. One of the questions that surprised me, since it had come so naturally in our family was, “How do you teach kids to like music?” I gave an answer suitable for the situation in which it was asked, but have since developed my ideas more fully. This post represents my humble efforts to inspire other moms to engender the love of music within their children. Not only will they love music, experiencing music helps develop their own musical talent.
My suggestions/experiences can be lumped into 4 age-appropriate sections.
Birth to age 6
- Sing lullabies every night. If you don’t know any, get a CD to sing along with – after a short time, since the songs are so simple, you will have learned them and won’t need the CD. As a late-blooming mother in my mid-thirties, I found myself rocking my first-born son remembering Brahm’s Lullaby which my father had sung to me. I would sing and sing, and since I didn’t know very many children’s songs at that point, I would then resort to singing the National Anthem, and The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
- Get Wee Sing CDs. We received one as a baby gift with our first child, and I can honestly say that as I look back, it was the most meaningful gift we got. Better than the silver-plated baby rattle and the savings bonds. Charming and so well-produced, these sing-along CDs each come with books with all the lyrics. They are a perfect alternative to TV and our favorites were Wee Sing Fun n Folk, Wee Sing Bible Songs, and Wee Sing Nursery Rhymes and Fingerplay. I now know enough childrens’ songs to provide for 100 grandchildren! (When they come along.) I still remember our toddler son’s first spontaneous singing – it was “Peter and John went to pray, they met a lame man on the way,” from the Bible Songs collection. A sweet memory.
- Make up songs as you go through the day with your children. Make up new lyrics using the tunes you know – not necessarily whole songs, but snippets. Your children will think you clever and amusing. Example: to the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush”, you could invent such lyrics as “Here we go ’round the table now, etc.”
These simple activities will provide the base of enjoying music, to which more sophisticated music learning can be added. Please watch for my next post on music for 7-12 year-olds. I will share my experiences and knowledge.