Sunday, December 16, 2012

Getting Started

The boys played in a show at a House Concert last night.  I had never been to a house concert and didn't know what to expect.  It was wonderful!  There were kids there!  There were families!  There were people asking about playing music with kids, as families!  About how to get started...

I'm going to write a couple blog posts about getting started.  I'm going to start with the youngest audience, babies and toddlers.  

Here's what worked for us:
  • Play lots of music at home, all different kinds of music, all the time.  Play your favorite music for your kids.  It will become their favorite music!  Dance, sing, and act silly.  Play music in the car.  Sing songs while you walk, work, and play.

  •  Sign up for a Music Together class.  We loved these!  They're so much fun.  The music is good and generally based on folk songs.  There are songs in Spanish.  Best of all, it teaches (completely through play) really sound basic music concepts like pitch and rhythm.  There are other early childhood classes and they are probably good too, but this is the one we have experience with.

  •  Go see live music.  Bring the kids.  Get them up front so they can watch the musicians.  Let their early experiences with music show them that music is something that real people make, not just something that comes out of a box.  Better yet, take them to see kids playing real music.  Kids get really inspired by other kids!
  • Take the batteries out of all the plastic toys that play "music".  Don't listen to bad kid music.  You deserve better and so do your kids.  There's a lot of awesome kid music out there.  Check out Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell.  Throw away the Baby Einstein CDs that you got at your baby shower.  There have been studies done that showed that kids that listen to these are less musical than kids who don't.
  •  Keep the TV off.  If you need screen time to take a shower, buy a Dan Zanes concert DVD, or a concert DVD of your favorite band.  Gus's favorites were the Dixie Chicks and Bruce Springsteen's Seeger Sessions.  I can definitely still see the influences.

  • Fill the toy box with instruments.  Let your kids play them until they break, then replace them with better ones.

  • Learn how to play an instrument yourself.  

  • Go to music festivals

  • Stay unplugged.  If they don't have video games they won't play them.  Maybe, if you're lucky, they'll pick up those instruments that you have strewn about the house instead.  

I hope you find this helpful.  It was certainly fun pulling out all these old pictures!

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