With all the negative media surrounding families today, good music can fill a home with positive energy. Teaching your children to love good music should start during infancy, and children of all ages can learn to appreciate a variety of musical styles.
If you're looking to instill a love of music in your children, here are some ideas to get you started.
Fill your home with a variety of musical styles
Expose your children to all types of music, and they are bound to find at least one genre that appeals to them. Go beyond popular radio and start playing classical, jazz, Latin, swing, classic rock from the 1950s and 1960s, and folk music for your children. Many libraries lend CDs, so you can check out different styles of music without having to pay.
Have a dance party or sing-a-long
Kids love to see their parents acting silly, and they will love music if you are willing to interact while listening. Turn on music when you are doing housework and dance around, or sing while you are making dinner. Watching you participate in music will demonstrate to your children that music is important to you and that it should be important to them.
See a live performance
Nothing will make a better impression on children than seeing music performed live. There is no substitute for a live concert, and many communities feature programs specifically designed for children or families. Check with your local symphony, choral group, opera, or ballet and see if they offer family shows. Many communities also feature pops concerts of more well-known music that are good starter concerts for children. Teach your children proper concert etiquette before attending the show, and make attending a concert feel like an exciting family outing.
Create music together
Get out the pots and pans and let your toddlers and preschoolers play them as drums. Let your older kids experiment on a piano or sing in the school choir. Encourage older kids to study an instrument, and provide them with dedicated time to practice. Children learn to love what they frequently do, and they will love music when they are part of creating it.
Make musical memories
Add musical traditions to your existing family celebrations. Learn songs related to holidays your family celebrates, and sing or perform them often during your holiday season. Learn the words to your national anthem and teach your children other patriotic songs. Also, teach your kids music that is traditional in your culture, and learn traditional songs if you live in a culture that is foreign to you. Your kids will cherish these musical memories for their entire lives and probably recreate similar traditions in their homes.
Encourage your children to perform musical numbers at your church, at family reunions, or in your home. Your children may be resistant at first, but learning to perform music will increase your children's self-confidence and help them learn to be good presenters. Attend their concerts and give them positive feedback. Let your kids know that you appreciate their musical talents.
Children are predisposed to love music. As a parent, your job is to give your children an outlet to express the music that is already in them. If music is important to you, start sharing that love with your children. You are your child's greatest role model, and they will want to mimic your sincere passion. Don't worry if you don't know a lot about music already, you can learn together.
Music can bring calm and peace or joy and laughter into your home. It can inspire your family and encourage memory making. You can create whatever climate you want in your home through music, you just have to start listening.