These days, music headlines are dominated by Lady Gaga and other pop stars. Many kids can spout off lyrics to practically any Top 40 song (or rap like Nicki Minaj, as this viral video proved), but know nothing about Mozart. Dozens of studies have shown the benefits of playing classical music for kids, including enhanced spacial reasoning and critical thinking skills. So how do we go about introducing them to classical music? The Parents’ Choice Foundation website has a list of great ideas, and here are a few we loved:
Start With Music You Like
When you like a piece of classical music, there’s a good chance your child will like it too. If you don’t know many, you might have to do some listening first to find music you’d like to share. To get started, there are loads of collections of great hits filled with pieces that you probably already know.
Mix It Up
When you play the classics mix them up with some pop, rock, blues, country, R&B, and jazz, or whatever kind of music you like. Kids don’t need their music put into categories for them. If they are exposed to different styles, their favorites will include a variety of music.
Many composers have used instruments in ways that will make it fun for children to learn and identify instrument sounds. Vivaldi used a viola to evoke a barking dog in “The Four Seasons,” and in “Peter and The Wolf” Prokofiev employed instruments to represent characters in a story: an oboe plays a duck, a clarinet a cat, a flute a bird, and the French horns are a dangerous wolf. Once you and your children can identify these instruments, find pictures of them, try to pick them out in other pieces, and talk about how they make sound and what feelings the sounds evoke. And plan to go to a concert hall to see and hear the instruments “in person.”
Do It Again (Repetition, Repetition, Repetition)
Many pop songs become popular simply because people hear them over and over. Same goes with the classics. The more you play them, the more familiar they become. Chances are your kids will not only like the repeated pieces more, but will begin to appreciate them in different ways as they continue to listen. When the great cellist Pablo Casals was in his nineties, he reported that for eighty years he had played the same piece by Bach every morning, and he said, “The music is never the same for me, never. Each day it is something new, fantastic and unbelievable.”
You can read the full article here. These are great tips for both parents and teachers alike to ensure kids are getting exposure to a variety of music genres. Save yourself from the latest pop song on repeat, and expand your child’s musical knowledge at the same time – sounds like a win-win to us! When they’re ready, find a music teacher who specializes in music lessons for kids for added benefits. (Need help finding a teacher? Search our database of certified and safe teacher here.)
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