How to Develop a Love for Music Within Your Child

I overheard three moms in the airport the other day, talking about music lessons for their kids.

The taller mom laughed. “Haley hates piano lessons so much that she hides when it’s time to go. ”

The mom wearing a Sharks Swim Team t-shirt said that she could play “Arioso” by heart from the torturous childhood lessons she had endured, but she didn’t have any interest in making music once the lessons ended.

The third responded that she was “musically wounded” as a child. Every time she sang a song, people told her she was tone deaf. She was never offered music instruction of any kind.

Yet, according to the research of Music Together®, all children are musical. The ability to enjoy and make music is not just for a talented few.

What can you do to assure your child has a great relationship with music from the start?

One of the best ways is to bring music into your home from Day One. It’s never too early for the child to see adults having fun with music. The parent or primary caregiver is the child’s most important music teacher. This doesn’t mean they need particular skills or musical talent. It is enough to show, “Hey, I love to make music.” Later, there will be ways to refine that for the child through music programs and lessons.

Here are some tips on how to bring more music into your home:

  • Keep a basket on hand that contains small instruments – egg shaker, drum, hand bell, maraca, etc. Have it out where anyone can use them.
  • Use pots and pans as a way to accompany a song you sing.
  • Sing about whatever needs doing, especially if the child is fussy. (To the tune of “Skip to My Lou”) – “In your carseat, Anabel. In your carseat, Anabel. In your carseat, Anabel. We’ll take a ride together.”
  • Make a chant with your child’s name and use it for any activity.
  • Sing or chant (without a CD) and imitate what your child does.
  • Invite other adults or young people over who have musical skills or interests.
  • Fill your home with music.

Giving your child this gift early in life will grow their musical intelligence, lay pathways for later musical training, and contribute to the overall growth and development of your child.

Ann Keeling is an early childhood music educator who teaches the Music Together® program in Grass Valley, CA. This is an internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and the adults who love them.