Posts Tagged 'music in your daily routine'

10 Ways to Make Music with your Child in the New Year

create-musical-play-instruments-children-800x800As 2013 gets underway, we think about the things we want to do in our lives that will make a positive impact on our family and ourselves. One of the ways we can do this is to make music a part of our family’s daily life. We are all born with the aptitude for making music, just as we are born with the aptitude for learning to talk.  However, if we are not in an environment that encourages and supports language development, our children will not be stimulated to speak. The same can be applied to developing our music skills. In order for our children to develop musically, they need to be in a musically rich environment on a regular basis. The most important time for learning is between the ages of 0-5 when children process information rapidly, efficiently and joyfully. They are absorbing everything in their environment and they absorb everything that their primary caregivers are doing (Mommy, Daddy, Grandparents, Nannies, and Teachers).  They want to be just like the important grownups in their life. If we as the adults, are modeling that music making is fun, and if we are making it a part of daily life, just like talking and walking, then we are helping to give our children the disposition to want to make music too!  The most important thing we can do to help our children develop musically is to model that music making is fun and that it is something that we love to do on a daily basis, for the joy of it!

Here are 10 easy ways to start making music at home with your child in the new year that will bring greater joy and connection in your family and set your child on the path to becoming a confident, joyful music maker for life:

1.)   Sing hello and goodnight to all the things in your child’s room and around your house when your child wakes up in the morning and when she goes to bed.

2.)   Turn on your favorite music and move around the room (hold your child if she is small enough) and exaggerate your movements – walking, marching, stomping, waltzing and tippy-toe-ing. Your strong, purposeful movements will give your child a clear model for how to move to the beat with her feet.

3.)   Play many different styles of music (contemporary, jazz, classical, folk) and invite your child to talk about how the different styles of music make her feel, and what type of movement does it inspire her to make. Use items to move with, such as a scarf, and ask your child how each prop makes her want to move.  Most importantly, model moving to the different styles of music yourself, then your child will be inspired to move, too.

4.)   Have a “Jam Session”. Pull out all of your pots and pans, plastic containers and wooden utensils and enjoy playing along with these “instruments” to your favorite music. Making music together is a stress reducer and can be a great way to connect with each other at the end of a busy day.

5.)   Play your favorite music when you are driving in the car and sing along!  This will help EASE the trip and create musical memories for you both, especially on a long road trip during a family vacation.

6.)   Say, “I love to hear you singing” or “I love to hear you playing the drums/shaker/guitar” instead of saying “You sound great.” When you do this, you will be giving your child unconditional musical love, that honors their “process” of singing/playing/moving instead of the “result” of how they sound or how they are playing/moving.

7.)   Make a fun musical instrument to enjoy during a “jam session”, or make a few and have your child give them as birthday/holiday gifts to friends or family members.

8.)   When singing, explore the song mixing fast with slow, high with low, and loud with soft.  When we put these opposite sounds and experiences right next to each other, it helps your child better understand the difference between the two. Children learn what is by what isn’t.  They have to have the contrast to learn. When using a high voice and a low voice to sing, this also helps your child explore her vocal range and practice using her high voice. As a culture, we tend to speak in a low tone voice, so it is good to practice using and maintaining your high voice!

9.)   Make up songs to ease your daily transitions that you go through with your child, such as cleaning up, leaving a play date or the park, and the bed and bath routine.  This will help both you and your child feel calm and have fun, too.

10). Start a lullaby ritual with your child at bedtime. Sing right into your child’s ear and hold her close. Your voice is the most important voice your child wants to hear, regardless of how you think it sounds! This loving ritual will help you and your child connect, it will ease her into bed, and it will create special memories for years to come!

Stephanie Puente
Director of Marketing

A Tune For Every Moment

I was shopping for a mattress pad at Target, exciting right? As I was standing there in the aisle, debating cotton, alternative down, water proof; I heard a little child sitting in her mom’s cart with some toy playing music keeping her occupied. The mom was doing her shopping and as she perused the aisle she clapped along with the beat of the music. When the music would stop, she continued to clap the beat. The child was so engaged and watched her mom as she played and danced around the Target aisle having fun and singing to her daughter while getting her shopping done. I wanted to go up to her and say, “way to go, keep making that music!” What a great example for all of us. Music can be a great tool, it can help you through a tough transition, it can put a child at ease, it can create bonding moments and foster emotional intelligence, it can make time together fun and engaging, it can encourage imagination, it can help with language development. I could go on. Just like the mom in Target, engaging her daughter musically, as she sat in the cart, we too can use music as a tool.

At Heartsong, we are arming you with a musical arsenal.  We want to give you the tools and the knowledge to create a rich musical environment at home, in the car, at Grandma’s, and even at Target. The average American family knows 3-5 songs to sing to their child. The ABC’s, Twinkle Twinkle, and Baa Baa Black Sheep all have the same melody, so that doesn’t leave us with much. In every class I ask my families to share musical experiences from the previous week. So many times I have heard, “whenever she gets upset in the car, all I have to do is turn on the CD and she calms down.” I also hear, “when we were on vacation, we were having a melt down, and I sang to him in the middle of the airport and it was the only thing that worked!” These moments show us how helpful it can be to have a song in your back pocket.

Even in class we will use our songs to transition from one song to the next, we sing Bye bye, or Bum bum as we put our sticks back into the basket. The children have grown accustomed to this ritual in class and know it means its time to put our instruments away. Sometimes we even sing a song about putting the play-along instruments back in the basket, substituting “clean up lyrics” to a song we already know. These methods can easily be used at home, not only to help make transitions smoother, but also as a great way to insert music as a part of your daily routine.

Every class we sing a lullaby, we quiet things down for a minute or two and we let the children hear our voices. So much bonding happens during a lullaby. In class we get a small peek sometimes into the special connection between parent and child. We want your child to hear your voice, even if they are across the room, your voice is your child’s most favorite voice. So, at home, when you are reading bedtime stories, add a song to the end of that ritual. It is an incredible gift to give that shares love and affection through music. Your voice can calm them and soothe them to sleep.

Music is FUN! Children are born musical, it is our job as grown-ups to support them in their musical growth. We can show them that we love music, and we can actively engage and make music fun! It is not only musical competence that we pass to them as we do our job as musical models, it is also the disposition towards music that we pass on. If your child doesn’t want to dance with you, don’t stop dancing, dance for them! Have a good time with music, if you hear your favorite song on the radio, sing out! It is not about what they do, it is about what YOU do. Their musical development is a complex process that takes years to complete. Why not give them every opportunity to share in a love for music that could last a lifetime? Don’t be afraid; sing, dance, make music fun!

We can give countless opportunities for imagination using music. If you are headed to the grocery store, you can sing the “Hello Song” to all the fruits and veggies you see in the produce department. You can make substitutions of words to almost any song or chant to include what you are doing that day. Children love to have their ideas validated: accept and include the dinosaur in the vegetable song, it doesn’t have to rhyme or even make sense. There are no rules, get creative!

Spontaneous musical moments can be easy, they can help you on a daily basis, and they can create a bond between you and your child. Use music to your advantage! Music can make a trip to Target more than just an errand. Keep a song in your back pocket, for a rainy day, or a long line at the grocery store. You never know when you might need it.

Sabine Heath
Certification Level I, Music Together Teacher

The Joy of Family Music

Heartsong Music teaches Music Together®, the internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for children from birth through grade two and the adults who love them.

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