My four-year-old loves to make up songs and knows all the lyrics and track numbers for her favorite CD. My 18-month-old loves dancing and she’s got some great moves already. When the music in the car stops between songs, she starts whining, “more, more!” I feel so lucky to have a husband who is able to give our girls the gift of music. Whether it’s hearing him play classical or modern music on his double bass or watching ballets on our Roku, they are getting exposed to some pretty great stuff thanks to my partner. He’s got my four-year-old all signed up for Suzuki violin next year and I confess (openly) that while I think this is great, I plan to have nothing to do with it. I am mostly a pop music kind of gal, but I sure can appreciate all of the culture and musical influence he’s bringing to the lives of our girls.
My husband has always been into music, playing piano and trumpet as a kid and now double bass as an adult. We used to go to a ton of concerts and shows in college and beyond. When I was pregnant with our first daughter we took her to see Phish and Sting with the Royal Philharmonic in utero. My husband’s job is teaching music to elementary and high school kids. He teaches private lessons out of our home and the girls love watching him teach.
I’m no early childhood music expert, but I can share with you what our kids love and some ideas for fun things to do to further expose your kids to music. I’ll also recommend some of our favorite CDs. I promise (hope) they won’t make you want to jump out of your minivan.
- Steve Songs – As Cora said, you might know him from PBS. His songs are all great, and we own the CDs On a Flying Guitar and Morning ’til Night. We also love his DVD.
- Okee Dokee Brothers – We own the CD/DVD combo called Can You Canoe?
- Sarah Lee Guthrie – We just saw Woody’s Granddaughter and Arlo’s Daughter this weekend and picked up her kids’ album Go Waggaloo.
- Music Together – We took a few sessions of Music Together and still love listening to the CDs. Even if you don’t attend the classes, you can still buy the CDs on online.
- Our four-year-old’s favorite “pop” songs are: Uptown Girl and For the Longest Time by Billy Joel, Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show and Cornbread and Butter Beans by the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Just like us, she’s a big fan of folk music.
Other Ideas for Music Exposure for Kids:
- Check your local library, high school, theatre company or college for kids’ music shows or classical shows that might be appropriate for kids.
- Get on the email list of some kids’ artists that your kids like, you never know when they’ll come to your area for a show.
- Instead of a movie, try putting on an opera or a ballet for your kids.
- Check out YouTube. You can find most of the artists above there and see how your kids react to their songs and see the songs are things you’d want to hear over and over again before buying the CD or downloading the track.
- When you hear music, discuss what instruments you hear with your kids.
- Check out this great toy that helps kids learn the sounds of some instruments.
- Sign your kid up for a music class like Music Together or a summer music camp.
- Take a day or weekend trip to the Berkshires to attend an afternoon show at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony. There is plenty of family friendly seating on the lawn for even the littlest of babies. Kids under 17 are free.
- Get a few basic musical instruments, probably mostly percussion, and let your child experiment with rhythms and sounds.
- Tap out the beat on your child’s leg or back while listening to any music.
- Sing to your child. Your love of music will rub off on them.
Enjoy exploring music with your kids! I hope they love it as much as mine do.