Many parents consider that it is enough to shove music down the throats of their children to get them to like it. The reasoning behind it is that as long as they (the parents) love it, the children should love it too, right? Or that classical music, although not a personal favorite of the parents, must be a favorite of the children because it helps develop the brain and makes them seem more intelligent in a social context. Do you see the error of these ways and do you know people who thought it was a good way to get children into music? If you too disapprove of such techniques, keep reading this article and see what some of the experts recommend.
8 STEPS TO TEACHING CHILDREN TO LISTEN TO MUSIC
1. Music discovery starts in the womb
Surely you have noticed all the commercials for headphones placed on pregnant women’s bellies and recommendations for classical music to be forcibly poured onto the womb. It seems like the common practice, right? In fact, apart from a way to sell a lot of devices meant to carry the sound to the baby, this is all a bit useless.
The baby starts hearing from inside the womb, from inside an environment in which he is surrounded by liquid. Some experts say that bringing the headphones so close to the baby will harm him as the amniotic fluid will amplify the volume. Listening to music from a regular, surrounding source, at a normal level, is enough for Baby to enjoy the music.
2. At first, your child will listen to whatever you listen to
You may try to trick him into listening to classical music. But if you, yourself are a Latin or Pop fan and you will most often leave him to audition by himself, it will not catch on like you would imagine. Therefore, faking an interest in classical music with very clearly defined limits, is not a great idea. The child will catch on and will not develop a passion for this genre separately. A good idea would be to get into classical music yourself and listen along with the child, so he can experience music through your own emotions, first. He will take his cues from you primarily and only afterwards will learn to develop his own preferences.
3. Music for children plays its part
Contrary to what you will think about music for children, it was not created to annoy parents, but to help children develop their cognitive functions and speech. It may seem annoying and repetitive for you, but the mellow tunes, the up-beat songs, the silly lyrics, are actually helping children make connections, learn new words, and interact. Children must be encouraged to sing along. Also, if you find annoying how often your child will want to listen to the same silly song about a dumb ducky or a curious cat, know that repetition is key to learning. You will find it annoying, but he will be laying down the foundation of what he will discover from this song.
4. How much of your own musical preferences do you wish to make stick to your child?
We get how you would love a child who listens to “Stairway to Heaven” or “Road to Hell”, but make sure that the process does not rob them of their innocence and childhood. There are types of music to be listened to at all ages and music you need to understand to like. If your child understands too well music meant for adults, then something is off. Let him enjoy the ducky and the kitty song and he will come to you when your own music is interesting to him.
5. Play good music around the house and do not make a fuss about it
Children act like they do not notice what is going on around them, but in reality, their brains absorb everything like a sponge. So, you may find your son or daughter humming along to one of your all-time favorites without knowing that the song has already been imprinted in her mind. The sounds we hear in the home will be considered part of the whole “home experience” package and not be separated necessarily from the rest of the memories. But the music will still be there. Try to avoid pushing it down their throats and they will appreciate it in their own time.
6. Accept the fact that the teen years are going to be weird
Most chances are you will not approve of the music taste your child will develop in his teen years. Like all parents before you, the new musical stylings of over-night stars miss the mark completely when it comes to adults. However, teenagers see music differently. It is a way of bonding with peers, of communicating in a shared language, and of taking their part in their own generation. And brace yourself, as it will all depend on what will be “hot” that particular moment. Only think about how different a “generation Britney” teen was from a “generation Tokyo Hotel” one.
7. Encourage them to learn to play at least one musical instrument
This is a great investment. Not because it means you are getting them ready to become a musician, but because learning to play an instrument is a great form of personal development. You are giving him a tool for self-expression that he can use throughout his life. Apart from that, there are clear benefits such as improved memory skills, coordination, and it also helps provide a better understanding of math – as music and mathematics are intertwined.
What is more, learning to play an instrument also means learning everything there is to know about the instrument. It gives them a context and a cultural understanding far beyond his personal setting.
8. Let your child enjoy his music whenever he needs it
This piece of advice may seem weird, but some parents will get their children to like music, but will insist on them enjoying it according to a set timetable. You understand how this sounds ridiculous. Once you got the child to love music, let him enjoy it!