Most of us have heard about the studies that show kids who study music:
- Can score higher on standardized tests, such as the SAT;
- Can help develop problem-solving and math skills;
- Develop their brains in areas that non-music studying kids don’t;
- And a whole slew of other beneficial things...
But music also releases serotonin and dopamine to give us the same sort of feeling of pleasure that come from eating chocolate. It can make us happy. There’s nothing like that good feeling when the perfect song pops up on the radio or on our iPods/MP3s.
This is important in our stressed out world of today. We’re stressed about work, chores, bills, economy, blah, blah, blah.
So how do we get more music into our children’s lives? And how do we cultivate an appreciation for music, not just a rebellion?
- Take your child to an outdoor concert;
- Listen to different types of music in order to expose them to a variety;
- Ask friends and family members what their favorite song is right now, or ask them what types of music they have on their iPod;
- Take a field trip to a local music store. (Not just an instrument store, but the small hole-in-the-wall musical instrument fix-it place. They usually have someone who’s happy to show kids different instruments because they’re in it for the music.)
- There are some great songs to point out the drum solos or the guitar riffs.
In our family, we will often turn off screens and turn on music for chores, or while making dinner and Sunday morning breakfast it’s always Breakfast with the Beatles. Our oldest son sings, plays the cello, 6-string, 12-string, and bass (a little). He’s also working on the chanter (outside). Our middle son showed some interest in the drums, but they’re a little louder than he expected, so we might be switching to the electric drums. Our youngest says he wants to try the trumpet, so we’re working on it. He’s had his own little Gen 1 iPod Shuffle since about age 4. We could set the volume to a reasonable level through iTunes. We would sit down together and load music from Laurie Berkner to the Beatles to Queen. He loves the Beatles. I had a woman at the grocery store ask me if the iPod was a hearing aide for him. I explained what it was and how I couldn’t argue with the fact that he loved listening to music.
We don’t push and we would choose appropriate songs for our kids to listen to, but without music, life would B flat. :o)