Music is everywhere. It’s part of our lives every day, whether we realize it or not. Who doesn’t listen to music?
That said, even though everyone listens, not everyone is a musician. What if you love music but can’t carry a tune in a bucket? And what if your child, or your niece or nephew or stepchild loves music? Not just loves music, but is moved by music, is transfixed by music, or is fascinated with a particular instrument, and who gravitates to music with that kind of instrument in it? What then? Do you let that child stumble toward self-realization, or do you nurture that interest and see if they have the talent and drive to be a musician?
I hope most parents would want to try to nurture it. But, how?
Although musicians can certainly provide some unique and valuable experiences for children, a musically rich environment can be provided by anyone. That’s the first step. This can begin very early in their lives – even in the crib. Or even before, if you subscribe to the teachings of Zoltan Kodaly, noted Hungarian music educator and composer. When he was asked, “When does music education begin?” he originally answered, “Nine months before birth.” He later amended that to “nine months before birth. . . of the mother.”
His point is that music is inborn and influenced by the mother. This article is an intriguing exploration of that assertion, and one that makes you wonder if we’re doing a disservice to our kids by not exploring that fundamental inclination in us all.
One of the first forms of music humans experience is a parent singing to them – but there’s that “can’t carry a tune in a bucket” problem. No worries, there are plenty of lullaby CDs available.
Young children can be musical in a wide variety of ways, including rhythmic chanting; bouncing their bodies; trying exploratory vocalizing; singing spontaneous songs of their own making (with and without words or exact pitches); using simple percussion instruments that rattle, shake, hit, or scrape; singing along to songs for children and moving to recorded music; and joining in on a family sing-along on car trips.
This kid is probably gonna rock:
Taking kids to live concerts, festivals, or anywhere age-appropriate music is offered, should be included in your explorations. And even though you might not fancy a certain style, your child just might, so expose them to as many types of music as possible. Classical music may not be your cup of tea, but finding opportunities for your child to hear it may just awaken something magical.
As you expose them to a variety of music, you’ll likely begin to see their preferences for certain types of music are starting to take shape.
Let’s say, violins or cellos are particularly attractive to your child. There are many programs and teachers who teach very young students, often in a class setting rather than privately, such as the Suzuki method. This method and many others utilize smaller instruments, or fractional sizes, to fit smaller bodies and hands.
Violins are available from 1/16th size for the very youngest students through 1/10th, 1/8th, ¼, ½, ¾ and full size (or 4/4). Cellos come in fractional sizes as well.
Once a method or class or program is found, an instrument will be needed. There are several ways to go about getting an instrument. If you’re not certain about whether your child really wants to play, maybe renting one is the answer. It’s a low-cost alternative to buying one and is a great way to get acquainted with the instrument without spending too much right away.
Kennedy Violins is a great place for parents and others to go for everything the beginning string player needs to start exploring their musical inclinations. Besides offering for sale or rent violins, violas, and cellos, they offer a full line of fractional sizes, and provide a size chart for determining which size to choose, as well as excellent advice and customer service. A hallmark of Kennedy Violins is that it is owned and operated by violinists who play or teach every day. Expert advice is just a phone call away.
Whatever your taste, music is a part of all our lives, a primal calling in some. Once you establish it in your family’s life, it will become the soundtrack for your life.