Not only is music a skill that will bring joy throughout one’s lifetime, it has brought the world the Theory of Relativity. As Albert Einstein himself had said, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music, I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force of this intuition. My parents had me study the violin from the time I was six. My new discovery is the result of musical perception.”
Indeed, music education has been proven to improve one’s memory, creativity, expressiveness, confidence and discipline. The benefits of teaching music to children thus are immense and immeasurable. While parents understand the value of a music education and wish to raise musical kids, most are unsure of how or where to start. One of the very first steps? Encourage a love of and for music. It’s that simple. Will Stroet, the star of CBC Kids’ “Will’s Jams” shares 6 ways to encourage a love of music in kids. (This blog article was repurposed by Cecilia Leong via Music For Young Children Canada & re-edited with Music For Young Children Singapore’s permission.)
1. Listen to everything!
By listening to music you love and expanding your musical tastes, you have the opportunity to explore your kid’s musical tastes. Will explains, “Children are born without a musical bias. If they love a song, it’s because they love a song. Their taste in music is pure and untainted by what other people and media tell them they should like”.
Parents are encouraged to listen to all types of genres of music with their kids by either streaming music, through YouTube, or even digging out your old CD and record collections. Break out Lennon, The Beatles, ‘The Wiggles”, Mozart, The Eagles, Jeremy Monteiro, One Republic, Beyonce, Metallica, Queen, Ed Sheeren… anything and everything that tickles your fancy. Most importantly, do not discriminate. Let them listen to everything. And if your child picks up something he or she loves, you know they’re on the right track.
2. Mom, Dad, I just wanna sing with you!
Children love to sing and it seems so natural to them but parents somehow lose this skill throughout their lives and often feel uncomfortable or even awkward. Will often tell parents, “Your kids don’t care – they just want to sing with you. You can have so much fun singing with your kids.”
Singing together is more than just about parent-child bonding and can be used to make everyday activities an enjoyable activity. Sing in the comfort of your car (carpool karaoke!) or even in the bathroom (come on, some of us parents still shower with our kids, right? Kill 2 birds…save water at the same time!).
3. Pract….err, I mean play!
Learning to play an instrument can be a magical experience for both parents and children. Will writes that, “Learning to play a musical instrument empowers and inspires children. It often takes finding the right teacher or mentor for those kids to flourish.” A good teacher helps students recognize what they love about music and reveals what music has to offer. Will’s own 4-year-old daughter Ella is enrolled in the Music for Young Children program and he calls it an “incredible introduction to music and the piano for kids.”
Locally, Tueetor Premium Partner MYC Singapore’s programme is parent-accompanied for the entire duration of the course. Said local parenting blogger Mummybean in her blog ‘Life is in the small things’, “MYC makes the process of learning music truly a fun one. In addition to creatively-planned lessons, they have also built-in incentives such as the use of props, toys, stickers to encourage kids to practice and do their homework. Learning with MYC was an opportunity to be with my kids, watch them, cheer their little successes and give comfort and encouragement where necessary.”
4. Come dance with me…
As a musician, Will loves making people dance. Dancing makes music a fun way for kids to burn off energy while stimulating their brains. It allows audiences to share the music and interpret their own way, while being a great way to stay physically active at any time of the year.
Dancing is our bodies’ natural way to groove to music we love and it really shouldn’t be done only in a formalized setting. You should shake it out, shake it up, let loose not only by yourself but with your kids and spouse, with pet in tow.
5. “Wait, that was my singing? WHOA!”
By recording music your kids make, you allow children to listen to themselves. Will writes that, “It’s incredible to watch children listen to themselves singing. Like the rest of us, they’re often surprised by their own voices.” Recording at home can be as simple as using the voice memo on your phone, or you can produce it with your kids in a program like Garage Band.
MYC’s music lessons include singing and learning about pitch, rhythm, dynamics and musical terminology, to name a few. But more importantly, when you record, listen and perhaps even upload onto your own social media platform, this helps to build up their positive self-esteem and confidence as they improve with more practice. You never know, you might just have the next Britney Spears or Justin Timberlake in the wings (after all, both of them had their start in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse).
6. Free music event? Let’s go!
“Nothing compares to the experience of live music. If you want to inspire your kids to have a lifelong love of music, take them to concerts, festivals and other live performances. Seeing people make music together is very inspiring and fun”, Will shared. Festivals allow audiences to participate and even feel the music while adding excitement from the energy of the audience.
There are regularly scheduled free live performances being staged at The Esplanade and even at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. And if you have some spare cash, perhaps you can even bring them to a Disney musical. “Lion King”, anyone?
Above all, remember that learning music is meant to be fun, calming, relaxing, soothing, inspiring. The best thing to do to help develop a life-long love affair with music is to keep it that way. Tueetor’s Premium Partner Music for Young Children (MYC) classes are designed to keep music learning activities fun for both parents as well as kids, while teaching participants the fundamentals of music. For a MYC class near you, visit https://tueetor.com/mycsingapore for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6100 6316….“and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make…”