Music has been around for more than 40,000 years (*possibly even more than 1 million years) and still holds such power, depth and connective energy at its core. It helps convey emotions, encourages social bonding, **helps with memory and literacy skills and boosts brain function. Music can also be very soothing and can further improve creativity and self-confidence. Additionally, music acts as a window into other cultures, time periods and people and helps us connect to something bigger than ourselves.
I believe music helps us slow down and appreciate the present moment more. It has the ability to move you to tears, or to make your heart swell with love. Music is also strongly tied to memory and can instantly transport you to another time and place. It further helps us encourage long childhoods and reminds us to revel in the magic and joy of everyday life. It can help us to raise beautiful humans who are sensitive, aware and tuned in to their own emotions, while also being grounded in a positive sense of self-worth and belonging.
I believe music is not just “one more thing to do”, but rather woven into the very fabric of family life.
Now, you may be thinking, “Ok, that all sounds great, but what if I’m just not musical?”
Well, I’m here to tell you that I firmly believe everyone has an inner musician just waiting to be acknowledged and invited to play. Being musical is also a skill that you can develop and improve, just like anything else in life. It just takes some practice and focused intention.
After teaching over 2,000 students during my time in the public elementary music classroom, I’ve seen kids completely transform in front of my eyes, from being uninterested, annoyed and bored, into fully engaged, excited participants who can’t wait for music each week and are surprised when class ends. I’ve seen 5th graders who couldn’t carry a tune or match pitch at the start of the year, go on to end the year by singing partner songs and canons confidently and tunefully.
If they can do it, so can you.
Here are 5 ways to incorporate more music into your family life to experience less stress and more joy.
1. Sing early, sing often!
Your baby or young child doesn’t actually know if you’re singing “in tune” or not, so take a big breath and belt out your favorite song! Children can pick up on the energy behind the singing, and if you’re enjoying yourself, then they will, too. Sing about your day. Sing about how you’re feeling, what’s the weather like, etc…
2. Set up a home music zone
Choose a corner, nook, or just a shelf and set out a few items: musical instruments, musical books, (cheap) radio, a comfy pillow, use the music zone as a calming corner to help release big emotions and recenter (both yourself and your child).
3. Read musical books
Read to your child: books that rhyme, books with a musical storyline (using music to help tell the story), books with a song, books about music and instruments. Learn to identify instruments with their proper names.
4. Listen to music
Listen to high-quality music, share your favorite music with your child, singalong with classic songs from your childhood, listen to various genres and styles of music (classical, jazz, pop, folk, country, blues, hip hop, R&B, etc), play music softly in the background during play time or meal time, listen to music in the car, learn to identify specific instruments by sound.
5. Family jam session
Play musical instruments together in your own “family band”. It doesn’t have to be perfect or planned or make any sense. Grab a drum, an egg shaker and a tambourine and have fun! Take turns playing a solo (one person plays at a time), take turns setting a tempo (speed), make up some lyrics, ta dah!
I came across this quote the other day that really resonated with me, “A child’s brain is a brain born under construction, that wires itself to the world. And it’s up to the parents to create a world (physical and social) rich with wiring instructions.” – Lisa Feldman Barrett.
What a beautiful and mighty task we have, as parents, to provide the most fertile soil we possibly can for our little sprouts to bloom into glory. I can’t think of a better tool to help us on this quest than music; joyful, connecting, soulful music.
Keep these tips handy as you lead from the heart in your peaceful parenting practice, and you’ll be sure to create rich, long-lasting wiring instructions for your little one. Help them navigate this great, big world with ease, compassion and confidence.
Holly Mason, BMEd, Founder of Harmony Lodge Music
Miss Holly is a licensed, certified, rated “Highly Effective” music educator with 10 years of experience. She is also a mama, lover of all things colorful and silly, and founder of Harmony Lodge Music – where music and parenting connect playfully. She offers deeply immersive, on-demand music classes filled with brain-boosting activities, and is committed to showing you how to use music to connect and communicate with your kid. Grab your FREE Top 10 Musical Tips now at https://HarmonyLodgeMusic.com/.