Getting Ready For Music Lessons

From the beginning, children soak in the sounds around them.  Even before birth, they can recognize their mother’s voice.   Early on, they have a heightened ability to learn by listening.  By listening and imitating sounds, they learn language naturally.  Through exposure to music, singing, and expressive voices, they learn to recognize different musical tones.

Work with this natural ability and have fun with music in your home:

  • Listen to different types of music – classical, pop, folk, jazz, world music.
  • Sing together, even if you think you don’t have a good voice. (Later, your kids will become critical, but as young children, they will enjoy songs and rhymes.)
  • Take out the pots and pans and some wooden spoons and let them “play the drums” along with the beat of songs. Tap and clap to rhythms as you listen.
  • Dance to and act out music.
  • Check out classical music suggested for children. Explain how some music tells a story without words, using different sounds, instruments, and themes to represent different characters and actions.
  • Let kids “conduct” an orchestra along with the conductor in a YouTube or other video.
  • Seek out age-appropriate concerts – for example at your library or in the park – where kids can see performers, especially young ones, live. Seeing and hearing musicians live can make a big impression.

Musical Story Examples

Peter and the Wolf (Prokofiev)
Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Saens)
The Nutcracker (Tchaikovsky)
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Dukas)

Remember that we humans tend to like music we are familiar with.  For example, we tended to like “Top 40” songs, because those were the ones played over and over on the radio.  At an early age, parents are tastemakers.   (Later, they’ll rely on their peers for that.)

“Good music is “beyond category”. – Duke Ellington