The Musical Family
I want my kids to always love music. At nine and ten years old, they aren’t interested in sitting through an opera at the Met. It’s probably out of our budget anyway. But there are many ways that we enjoy music together as a family, inexpensively and with maximum joy for everyone. Quality family time and invaluable musical exposure is a win-win!
Five ideas for simple, fun ways to enjoy music with young kids.
- Attend an orchestra concert designed for kids. Most orchestras have family-friendly programs so finding one in your area won’t be difficult. For instance, the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops has a series called Lollipops for kids age 2-10. These concerts are held several times through the year at kid-friendly times and prices. You don’t have to worry about your child squirming in her seat because the audience will be full of wiggling bodies. These programs are usually sensitive to your child’s attention span and are very entertaining.
- Outdoor concerts are perfect for families. The Columbus Symphony Orchestra offers Picnic with the Pops and Popcorn with the Pops concerts during the summer at the Columbus Commons. We like to bring a basket full of tasty food and a blanket for the lawn. The kids always find friends to play with on the lawn before the concert starts. During the show, they can move around, eat snacks, and (best of all) fall asleep in my lap.
- Tune the radio to the classical station. We keep our kitchen radio tuned to the classical station because the kitchen is the center of our family life. Sometimes I listen to the local classical station, though I really like my Sirius radio classical stations because the title information scrolls across the bottom of the radio. When something catches my ear, I often ask the kids to tell me what is playing. This helps them learn the composers and pieces. In a quiet moment, I might ask the kids, “Do you like the piece that is playing on the radio? Why?”
- Keep a collection of musical instruments that your kids can “play.” We have a basket full of percussion instruments, recorders, harmonicas, etc. for the children to enjoy. I love seeing how they interact with them because the possibilities are endless. One day they might pretend to be a marching band and walk through the house playing loudly; another day Daughter will sort them into piles of similar color and play them one at a time. When friends come over, it’s usually the first thing they ask to do. (I have a bottle of mouthpiece sanitizer available to use on the wind instruments.)
- Music classes are fun! Many recreation, arts, and community centers offer group music classes. There are many different kinds (Music Together, Kindermusik, Dalcroze, Orff, Kodaly, and others) for babies through adolescents. I have studied all of these methods and teach my own style of music classes that blend ideas from the different traditions. Music classes for families use simple songs and instruments, along with body movement to facilitate social and motor development. That’s a fancy way of saying you and your child will love making music with you.
Plant the musical seed early and see how it grows.