The benefits of early music education have long been touted, but signing up for mommy and me music appreciation groups or finding instructors to teach private lessons can cost a lot. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to provide your kids with exposure to music at home and on a budget, from crafting your own instruments to taking online music classes. Here are some easy but effective ways to give your children experience with music which can positively aid their growth and development.
While it might feel a little foolish as an adult, engage in singing and dancing time with your children. Put on some fun music and get goofy. Most little ones already love dancing and singing along. Join them and encourage this free method of participating in music and art.
For creative and crafty families, try making your own instruments
from recycled materials around the house. Paper towel roles and empty tins and paint cans can quickly be decorated and transformed into a drum set. Without any mess, musical glasses can be simply set up with different amounts of water in each. For more ambitious creators, cardboard guitars or rubber band harps can be devised.
Once you have made a band of recycled instruments, spend some time playing them. Though clapping along with a song sounds simple, it is often a skill which you can impart to your children as you show them how to follow the rhythm and come in on the beat. And if your cardboard and paint cans don’t hold up, it might be a good idea to invest in a set of toy percussion instruments such as a tambourine or set of maracas.
Most children will sit spellbound by live music as they watch the musicians’ movements and hear the loud full sound. While a night at the symphony might sound expensive, many colleges present free or less expensive musical programs and even professional symphonies often host children’s concerts.
5. Learn at the Local Library
Your community library most likely hosts weekly musical programs geared for an audience of young children. This is a wonderful, free way to connect with other kids and moms in your area while enjoying live music and stories.
6. Read About Classical Composers
While you’re at your library, pick up a few books on Mozart or Handel. The children’s section boasts tons of material on famous composers as well as recordings of all types of music. Many recordings also blend story with song such as “Peter and the Wolf,” a story narrated with the help of the symphony.
One blogging mother cleverly suggests taking a simple children’s song such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and asking your “children to parody this tune” with their own lyrics. This is a fun and simple way to give your children a chance to compose their own words into songs.
One final tip is introducing your children to music theory as they mature. While it might sound complicated and scary at first, many sheet music companies publish beginning music theory courses. Purchasing an elementary workbook can introduce your children to some of the more technical aspects of music and open up a subject which they may later choose to pursue.
With these fun yet affordable ideas, you and your family are set to enjoy the wonder of music without spending an uncomfortable sum.
Guest Post author Abby Evans is a freelance journalist and mom currently reviewing health options for her family.
Thanks for sharing your tips, Abby. We love to listen to Pandora and dance, and Jed plays the guitar for the kids. The Bear loves playing with our keyboard as well as turning anything and everything into a percussion instrument. How do you bring music into your home?