Cherie Call, a professional musician and mother of two, shares some of her thoughts on how to bring music home.
Music for Work:
For young children: sing songs while you bathe them or brush their hair and teeth. Use a catchy tune to teach them their phone number.
Sing a song while you pick up toys. Get toy musical instruments or even inexpensive real instruments for them to play with. Don’t block off the piano. Let them play! A little noise never hurt anyone.
For older children/adults: play your favorite CD or ipod playlist while you do the dishes, do taxes, exercise. Play classical music while you study. This has been shown to help your brain remember what you’ve learned!
Music for Play:
For young children: turn on some fun kid music or anything generally wholesome with a beat, and watch them dance away. At our house we even have a mirror ball! Costumes also make it fun. Sit down together with our without musical instruments and sing together. Sing songs you’ve known all your life, like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, or The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Change the words to those well known songs and see if your kids notice and laugh at you. Our kids like to make up silly songs. If your kids do that, cheer them on and laugh with them.
For older children/adults: Experiment with Garageband if you have a mac computer. Play a fun music video game like “guitar hero”.
Music for the Joy of Music itself:
For young children: Try and help them list the musical instruments they hear in a song. Get a kid friendly mp3 player for your child and let them play their favorite music wherever they go. We have the Sweet Pea, which lets you control the playlist and volume, but is easy enough to use that our four year old can run it. Play great family friendly music while you make a treat or color. When their old enough, take them to concerts. See if your local library or community has musical puppet shows or similar things. Take them to see a dance program. When they get old enough, let them take lessons on an instrument they seem to be interested in.
For older children/adults: sing in a community or church choir. Buy an inexpensive guitar and learn some chords. Too intimidating? Buy a ukulele! Easier to learn and almost impossible to be in a bad mood while you strum. Start a real garage band with your friends. If you are an itunes person, look at the suggestions they give you on what you might like. They might be right! Research local artists and buy their music. Most people think of LDS music when they think of Utah music, but you can find amazing, brilliant musicians in almost any genre here. Find a local “School of Rock” and sign up. As a parent and child, learn a new musical instrument together. Ask your teen about their favorite band and why they like them. Visit Pandora.com and discover new music that’s similar to what you already love.
Overachievers: If you have a great backyard or living room, host a house concert. If you have a nice home where something like that would work, you may not know that some of your favorite local artists would be willing to do a concert for your family and friends if you let them put out a tip jar and sell CD’s. It makes for a magical evening no one will forget.
You can learn more about Cherie at www.cheriecall.com.