This article is for parents searching for ways to give their children musical inspiration and exposure. Ideas expressed here can work for children of all ages, whether they have any experience playing a musical instrument or not.
Parents now more than ever are growing more concerned about making sure their children are able to experience a well-rounded education that includes exposure to the arts and culture. Some ways to accomplish this are by taking children to local art fairs, visiting museums, going to the ballet, travel, etc. Establishing appreciation of music from a popular and cultural standpoint is also a big part of this endeavor, and as a piano teacher, I often give advice on how to help parents bring the love of music to their children from both a study and recreational standpoint. It’s not a complicated task for parents, though, and with a few ideas, you will find that it’s easier than ever!
Listen to Music With Your Children
The influence parents have over what their children listen to is profound. As a child, my father listened to oldies from the ‘60s and folk music all the time around the house, and as a result, it’s still a genre of music I love today, even though it would normally be out of my scope of music that was on the radio in my formative years. This is but one minor example of how parents can influence their children’s love of music.
Whether it’s popular music, classical, or jazz, the simplest thing you can do to increase awareness of music with your children is to actually turn the music on in the house. If you are doing chores, riding in the car, or just watching footage from an old concert together, children will radiate towards what they are hearing. The added benefit of this is that it gives children the ability to start shaping their opinions of what music should sound like and where their individual tastes lie. Also, children will find ways to incorporate love of music into their lives throughout adulthood if it has been established as the norm early on.
Attend Concerts and Musical Events
Seeing live performances by professional musicians is a great opportunity to build appreciation of the skill and talent it takes to achieve “the spotlight”. This encompasses seeing a massive production–like a One Direction concert or Broadway musical–to a symphony event or recital by a professional instrumentalist. The range is broad, and even by combining the popular and historical styles, you are giving your children a great look at how music has always touched the consciousness of humanity through the ages.
This doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking either! As far as classical and jazz concerts go, there are tons of free and low cost events around any major city. On any given weekend, you can find at least one opportunity to see a great performance by a professional musician for little to no cost at all! Even for big events, the summers are always great for free outdoor concerts. It just takes a little online research to see what’s going on around town.
Make Music Study an Opportunity for Your Children
Even as a music teacher, I’m not a proponent of forcing children to study music if they truly have no interest in doing so. If there is a heavy resistance to it, it may not be the best time to make it a requirement. However, for children who do want to study a musical instrument and have expressed an interest, there are many opportunities in both schools and private study. Participation in a school ensemble–like orchestra, band, or choir—is a great, low cost outlet for performance experience. Also, thinking about musical theater opportunities and church choirs are also great! Private music lessons are another option, and the great aspect of this type of study is that it is one-on-one with an instructor who can tailor lessons to what the student would like to achieve.
Music With Your Children
The ways available to bring the love and appreciation of music to your children are abundant. Some ways, like simply listening to music with your children, are very easy and take little effort to accomplish. Other ways, like going to events and encouraging music study, are also very accessible, and maybe not as expensive as one would think. Love of music is basically a lifestyle parents can greatly influence, so find creative ways to excite your children about music—it’s a love that can follow them for the rest of their lives and continue to be passed on!