Today I meant to write to you on how to help your kids love music. The truth is that if you read my life story in the earlier posts in my blog, you could quickly gather that the process for me started through the unmediated exposure to music through all media. The radio that was always open and accessible, as well as the records with their various styles, “opened” my ears. These, along with the natural curiosity of a child, are the first stepping-stones in the development of the love for music.
We are living in an amazing time, technologically speaking. If once we had to go to musical libraries or buy a vinyl album to listen to any song or classical work, the digital media of these days has offered us countless accessible possibilities of exposure. Push a button and you have an endless line of songs, classical works, different versions and information.
Indeed, very often when parents of kids who play music ask me how they can expand the musical knowledge of their kids, as well as their own, my answer is very simple and, you’d be surprised, often very cheap.
Here are six ways to develop musical awareness in every person:
2. Let the music go with you everywhere – at home, in the car, on cable TV. (On cable TV, you can even find some other wonderful channels of classical music. Most are audio, but one has video and is called Mezzo.) The advantage of some of the radio stations is that it is very accessible. The editors usually choose canonical works, so it is very easy to learn with its help all the important and famous works, and most importantly, the news are broadcast every few hours. (Thank God!)
3. Choose several classical works that are accompanied by a narration. The story behind the music, whether it is biographical of the composer or describes the music itself, allows the kids to identify emotionally with the music.
4. Try to listen consciously and ask yourselves and your kids what you are hearing: which instrument, what ensemble, what kind of music, what it awakes within you? Sing the familiar tunes even when you are not listening to the music. This way you will slowly engrave the music on your mind.
5. Look up the composers and works on Wikipedia and YouTube or other sites. Try to find different recordings of the same work and read about the composers and the works themselves. This will allow the kids to receive richer information and listen with greater awareness.
6. Take your kids to as many concerts as you can. I’m sure you can find concerts for kids in many places. Even if your kid insists on leaving before the end of the concert, it is still a great experience for the long run. You will see that as their love for music develops, so will their patience and they will sit through the entire concert, captured by the sounds.
I can tell you that this is exactly what I do with my kids and both love many different kinds of music. They have no problem listening to the Beatles, Michael Jackson, and The Magic Flute of Mozart or to Keith Jarrett, the wonderful pianist. They hum more popular tunes they hear at school and enjoy a rich musical world.
We have the option and the obligation to expose our kids to wonderful, deep, rich content. We just need to turn on the radio on the right wavelength.
I’d love to hear about your experiences and those of your kids and friends.
So good luck and enjoy listening.