Music. Its importance in our lives can never be justifiably explained by words. Music has been part of our lives since the moment we were born, helping us remember happy memories and go through sad ones. Music brings people together and can represent a country and its culture. Music can express love. Music is a language.
In 1993, scientists at the University of California in Irvine reported “the Mozart effect.” They conducted a study on students who listened to a Mozart sonata before taking a test and reportedly did well on the test. Many took this to mean it would have the same effect on children
This is being disputed but — backed by studies or not — parents know that music is good for their kids. Toy musical instruments are among the most popular with children. Many of today’s most popular artists like Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, and even Michael Jackson got into music as kids
They say that kids now learn to operate a gadget even before they learn to tie their shoelaces. Some find it cute while others find it alarming. Some say that us parents need to flow with the times, and this is the age of technology. It’s better to have a child that can catch up rather than one left behind.
How do we help our children discover and unleash their musical talent? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Expose them to music
Make listening to music a shared experience with your child, so you can actively nurture his love for and interest in it. I grew up finding my dad listening to music every morning. I would go downstairs from my room, sit beside him in the living room where his beloved stereo system was, and just listen to the music he was playing. We didn’t even have to talk.
2. Let them play with musical instruments
Younger kids can begin with the toy xylophone, microphone, and drums. Older ones can enjoy and appreciate simple musical instruments like the tambourine, triangle, cymbals, and maracas. They are junior versions of the classical guitar and even drums. Let your child play the instrument to their favorite song. Remember not to force this upon them, though, as it would take the joy out of their self-learning.
3. Tell them stories about famous composers
Children appreciate a good story, and while fables and fiction teach them important lessons in life, true stories can inspire them and help them find role models whose lives they can follow. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s inspiring story of starting to play multiple instruments by 6 years old is worth emulating. Ludwig van Beethoven’s struggle with deafness while still creating beautiful music is inspiring.
4. Encourage them to create
Does your child show the inclination to create his own music and write his own lyrics? Support him, listen to him, stand by him, be proud of him. Nothing empowers a child more than the positive energy of his parents, and this will give him the motivation to keep going. Remember to praise progress and not ask for perfection. Appreciate his effort.
5. Stand back
Once you have opened up the big, beautiful world of music to your child, give him space to hone his love for it. Let him be alone with it. Music can also be his therapy. When my son was two years old, he showed signs of depression he could not articulate after his father and I separated. We would always listen to music together. One day, he started singing by himself. His pediatrician said it was a sign he was finally happy again.