The Importance of Music
Music has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. From playing music at our home parish for Masses, to playing Clarinet in the wind ensemble at UW-Milwaukee, to most importantly playing music and signing with my brothers in our basement.
Music is well known to be a source of comfort and peace, as well as connection between family and friends. It promotes development in babies and young children, bonds families across generations, and stimulates areas of the brain involved with motivation, reward, and emotion.
What You Can Do to Create a Music in your Family
1. Sing Together - Throughout time, in different cultures around the world, singing has been a significant feature in the lives of families. This has declined in the past few decades with the introduction of recorded music. Find opportunities to sing together; in the car, walking to the park, getting dressed, having a bath. Whether it be songs from your childhood, songs from music class or songs you have made up on the spot using familiar tunes, make singing part of your everyday life.
2. Dance Together - Whether it be spontaneously dancing around the kitchen together to tunes on the radio, establishing a nightly routine after dinner, or even a weekly ‘family disco’ with a play list built up of everyone’s favorites make dance a part of your lives.
3. Share a Lullaby Time - There is nothing better for a baby/child than hearing the soft, soothing tone of a loved one singing to him before bedtime. Establish this as part of your bedtime routine. Build up a repertoire of favorite lullabies or take any song, slow it right down, sing it softly and it becomes a lullaby.
4. Have a Family Jam - Build up that family music basket with a mix of homemade and store-bought instruments e.g., drums, shakers, rhythm sticks, kazoos. You might also like to bring out a collection of ‘kitchen instruments’ to clang, tap, shake and scrape from the kitchen.
5. Get out that Rusty Old Trumpet - Have you heard the phrase, if you want a child to be a reader then read yourself? The same can be said about music. You do not have to be the greatest musician in the world, simply by doing it, you will stimulate your child’s interest. If you have never played an instrument, it’s never too late to learn. There are plenty of simple tutorials online these days.
6. Build up your Recorded Collection of Music - If you are passionate about music, your children are more likely to be too. Expose them to music you enjoyed as you grew up and music that you have collected along the way. Seek out new and interesting music as well as old classics. Expose children to a variety of genres e.g. Folk, world, jazz, classical, pop, country, rock, blues, swing…… but most importantly the music you love as they will sense that passion.
7. Go to hear Live Music - Making music together at home and dancing and jamming along to recorded music can unquestionably set off a lifelong love of music. Seeing music live can enhance this enormously.
8. Let Music be Part of Your Every Day Lives - As easy as children learn to walk and talk with their families, they can also learn to sing and make music with them too. By making it something you do naturally every day, you are giving your children the best start to their life with music.
Resources from: The Rhythm Tree; Music Together