Music classes are great for children. And if you go to the right program (hint, hint) they can be equally fun for adults too. But sometimes life is too complex to add in even one more scheduled activity. And even if you do attend a music class, the real fun lies in bringing the music home. Whether you’ve been in a music class or not, here are some ideas for creating a music circle in your own home.
· A music circle is more fun when you share it with others too. Schedule your circle time when you can gather the whole family around. Bring in grandparents to join the fun. Incorporate music into annual family gatherings like Thanksgiving. (Bonus: singing bypasses some of the difficult conversations that come up when families get together.) Some families also enjoy getting together with friends for a musical play date. This can be as informal as sitting and singing together, or as fancy as recreating a regular music class in your own living room.
· You can still have a music circle if you don’t have friends or family nearby. You can always round out your circle with your dog or cat. Many children love making a music circle with their stuffed animals or other “lovies,” and this also helps to reinforce their skills. Bonus: there’s nothing more lovely than watching your child teach songs to their teddy bear!
If you’ve been enrolled in a music class, you may already have a music repertoire. If you haven’t, or you’re looking for new music, here are additional low-budget resources.
· Create a Music Together® station on your Pandora account. This will bring up a mix of beloved children’s songs from Music Together, as well as a host of high-quality songs from other family-friendly artists. If you hear an artist you and your child especially love, you can find more of their music on iTunes or Amazon
· Did you know you can check out CDs from your local library? This is a great way to experiment with new music without making an investment up front.
· Sing songs you remember from your childhood. Are there songs you remember your parents or grandparents singing to you when you were young? These songs are heirlooms, and worth passing down to your children.
You don’t need instruments to make music, but it’s fun to extend the music-making with new ways to make sounds. Some options for extending your sound-making possibilities:
· You can buy instruments online. Good websites for instruments include MusicTogether.com, LittleLovees.com, and WestMusic.com
· You already have instruments in your house! Your pantry and kitchen cabinets are full of things that can be shaken, banged, tapped, etc. If you’d like more ideas for making your own instruments, try TheCraftyCrow.net, or Google “musical instruments for children.” (Bonus: some of these are as much fun to make together as they are to play afterwards!)
· Your body is an instrument! You can make amazing music with just your body and your voice. Clap your hands, stomp your feet, bang your chest, pop your lips… If you need more inspiration, check out videos by musical master Bobby McFerrin – or take cues from your baby or toddler.
· The best investment you can make in your child is your time and your love, and music is one way to share both. Every song you sing with your child is a way to say “I love you”. Know that your child is deeply listening, even if they’re not singing along. This time you spend with your child will be a part of them for the rest of their life.
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