Six Ways to Develop Musical Awareness in Your Child

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:

1. Turn on the radio or any other medium which broadcasts music: TV, YouTube or the radio channels through the smartphones. That’s all!

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.

Yours,

Maya

 

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9 thoughts on “Six Ways to Develop Musical Awareness in Your Child

  1. Sergey Stepanov • We think teaching technology ” Reflection ”
    will help your kids to love music .

    R E F L E C T I O N

    Music Teaching Technology for Beginners.

    Ukraine .
    Mr. S.M.Stepanov
    We would like to offer the sci.articles
    “Digital Music Grammar “ and “Algorithm of Microcycles “
    for your review.

    http://reflectionmusic.ucoz.com/

    A b s t r a c t

    Throughout many centuries, the musical structure has had numerous modifications. We can observe the constant use of digits for convenience of notation of the music sounds, for example : digital organ bass, lute tablatures, guitar jazz ciphers. At nowadays the digital system of music teaching is absent in curriculum and is not applied in practice because of teacher’s insufficient professional knowledge in the sphere of child’s neurophysiology . The findings of our scientific investigations have permit us to understand the most delicate mechanisms of child’s mental activity and to detect new creative abilities.Application of the information technologies will help schoolmasters to improve the quality, speed and efficiency of music teaching for beginners. The scientific methods “Digital Music Grammar“ and “ Algorithm of Microcycles “ are dedicated to children on the development their intellectual and creative abilities.

    http://educationinjapan.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/considering-the-benefits-of-digital-
    music-grammar-in-a-music-educational-program/

    Stepanov S.M. teacher of music

  2. I don’t believe I can add any new ideas to this list of six, but I can wholeheartedly agree with them. Exposure to the “language” of music is key to developing musical awareness in children. Even if the only music “study” is by these means, not by studying an instrument, the child would become musically literate

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  7. I agree that it is vital to begin developing musical listening as early as possible. Listening informs all aspects of performance as well as being of intrinsic value.

    Because aural awareness is held to be of high importance, it is tested by the major international examining board, ABRSM as part of music performance examinations.
    Many children (and adults too) find the tests difficult and feel a lack of confidence in this part of the examination.

    These are the reasons why we at E-MusicMaestro, as music educators and examiners, have developed a programme of aural training that not only prepares students for aural tests, but is useful in its own right as an ear training resource.

    Aural Test Training is an online resource with thousands of professionally recorded sound files that teach and develop listening skills, grade by grade.

    Please try it free at http://e-musicmaestro.com/auraltests/

  8. I agree that developing musical listening is of vital importance, not just because of its intrinsic value but because it informs all aspects of musical performance.

    The major international examining boards such as ABRSM test aural awareness as part of music performance exams and many candidates find the tests quite challenging.

    My approach to developing listening skills was a fairly radical one – we developed a whole online resource, Aural Test Training, that teaches musical listening as well as preparing students for the aural test part of exams.

    I regularly use this resource with my own piano students, of course and I invite you to try it too, for free. There are thousands of professionally recorded, grade by grade sound files that teach as well as test. If you like it, you could recommend it to parents, who can subscribe for a small monthly fee that allows their children unlimited access to the resource.

  9. I’ve been lucky enough to live in different cultures, and I use the folk songs from those cultures to develop musicality in my kids. For example, Austrian children’s music will modulate to a relative minor, and is not afraid of ambitious melodies with leaps and accidentals. Peruvian children’s music has the kids singing 3 and clapping 2. They don’t all do it, but they hear it, and eventually, through exposure, they get it. In American children’s music, I find most everything (even sad rainy songs) in major keys! However, there is a strength in American children’s music in developing creativity by encouraging new songs and changes in wording to make them current. I use as much as much of these ideas as I can.

    We’ve also started playing together as a family with the kids (they’re young) repeating a rhythm on G or singing and clapping along. They love it and ask us for it when we forget!

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