A child who embraces the beautiful melodies of music is a satisfied child. A child who has a song in their heart is a content child. What more could we desire for a child?
We have the privilege of offering our children a beautiful feast of music. I believe children should listen to a variety of musical genres and that there isn’t one style of music that is better than the other (although some of us might prefer one over the other!)
The stumbling block for many parents is that they don’t know how simple it can be to teach their children about music. It doesn’t always mean starting an instrument right away or making music to be something so intense from the get-go. Offer them every style, and then watch.
What makes them dance around the room and want more? What makes them ask questions all day? And what song do they want to play over and over again? Find that and keep offering MORE!
Starting With Younger Children
Starting down a path of music can be as simple as putting on a quality piece of music on your stereo and asking them what they hear. With younger children, I ask them what instruments they hear or what kind of emotion they feel. Sometimes, we will even draw pictures of what we hear. By the end of the exercise, you’ll see that their piece of paper has become a beautiful, messy, and colorful piece of art.
Starting With Older Children
With older children, I ask questions like, “Do you hear any loud or soft sounds (dynamics)? Are there any unusual beats or rhythms you can identify in the music?” I like my older children to keep a detailed journal of what they hear so they can keep a record and reflect back on the pieces they've listened to. This can be as simple as writing down the piece of music and composer at the top of the page and then making a list of everything they hear and feel in the music.
See how simple that is? If you did this simple exercise only once a week from the time your child started Kindergarten until 12th grade, your child would have listened to over 676 pieces of music! Wouldn’t their notebooks and minds be an incredible wealth of musical knowledge?!
Your First Piece Of Music
One of the first pieces of music I would suggest you and your children actively listen to is Camille Saint-Saens’ “Carnival Of The Animals.” Children love this piece because all fourteen scenes depict an animal. The instruments in the orchestra represent these animal scenes with different sounds. If you need some help, I have a free resource on the “Carnival Of The Animals” to get you started.
You can find it here (plus many more free resources!):
No matter which way you begin, you will never do it wrong. The musical journey is a personal one. In the end, what matters most is that we all enjoy exploring this beautiful gift of music together!
ABOUT SONJA from MY HOMEGROWN SYMPHONY
Sonja Hindmarsh graduated in 2007 from Biola University in Southern California with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Violin Performance. Originally from British Columbia, Canada, she has performed in countries such as Italy, Germany, Romania, and across the United States and Canada.
Currently, Sonja freelances as a musician in the Vancouver area, directs her own private music studio of violin students, and is the conductor of the Pacific Mennonite Children’s Choir. One of her newest passions is writing music curriculum for children all over the world through her business called ‘My Homegrown Symphony.’ Most importantly, Sonja and her husband Jared homeschool their four children together on an acreage that has been in the family for over 35 years.