By: Kera Doherty, B. Mus
There has been a lot of buzz about the benefits of making music with your kids and the good news is that it’s easy to do! The cognitive, social, emotional and physical benefits can be attained through informal music making right in your own home. Much like language learning, young children can learn the music of their culture, by being immersed in it. They need frequent opportunities to play and experiment with music and whether you think you are musical or not, you are their best guide! Here are a few ways you can get started:
- Start your day with music. Pick a song that brings a smile to your child’s face. Even if you’re not feeling so bright-eyed singing will give you a momentary lift. It releases endorphins which are our brain’s “feel good” chemicals. Dancing will also have the same chemical effect.
- Whistle while you work (or sing). While most of us don’t enjoy house chores we can make it more enjoyable with a little singing. You may notice that at your child’s daycare or preschool they have a clean-up song . why not try it at home or make up your own. Singing distracts us from the task at hand and makes the activity a little more fun.
- Music aids with transitions. To ease into nap time or bedtime sing a song that is soft and slow. You could even start a family tradition and share a lullaby from your childhood. A quiet song will help calm your child and transition them from awake to sleep time. You may even find yourself feeling relaxed! For older children you can take a favorite story and set it to a familiar tune such as Twinkle, Twinkle.
- Get your boogie on! Put on your favorite dance tunes. Pop, rock, disco, world music, anything with a strong beat will get everyone moving! Listen to the music to guide your movements. You can jump, march, tip toe, twirl, and sway or look to your child for inspiration. They have lots of energy to expend and dancing is the perfect outlet.
- Start your own family band. Bring out a few mixing bowls, some wooden spoons, or make your own instruments and enjoy exploring all the sounds and rhythms you can create. Children love to play and explore and will likely delight at the idea of using household items in a whole new way. If you are looking for some rhythmic inspiration you could play along to some of your favorite tunes.
Kera and her husband own and operate Staccato Studios and Music Share in Burnaby, BC. As music instructors, they love sharing their enjoyment of music with others. Kera works with a wide range of students from babies and toddlers, to teens and adults. In addition to teaching, she enjoys the cultural life of Vancouver and you can often find her out at a concert or the symphony. Although they have travelled far from home their favourite place to visit is the prairies. They love spending time with family and their new niece! For more information please visit Staccato Studios.