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6 Easy Ways To Encourage a Love of Music In Kids

Jul 22, 2015

Music has meant the world to me—both as a kid and as an adult. Now that I’m a dad, I’ve been trying to foster a love of music in my own children.

Music offers so many benefits for kids:

  • it increases brainpower and memory
  • it fosters creativity and gives kids a form of artistic expression
  • it can help teach discipline and patience (both challenging in this day and age)
  • it can be a great confidence builder and help kids socially

So how can we—as parents—encourage a love of music in our kids?

Here are my top six ways to encourage kids to love music: 

1. Listen

We have more access to music than ever before. When it comes to listening to music with your kids, I recommend listening to music you love and trying to expand your musical tastes—both for the benefit of your kids and for yourself. 

Children are born without a musical bias. If they love a song, it’s because they love a song. Their taste in music is pure and untainted by what other people and the media tell them they should like.

Children are born without a musical bias. If they love a song, it’s because they love a song.

You can stream music, dig out your old CD and record collections, listen on YouTube or try on my new favourite place to find all kinds of music: CBC Music (especially the Kids’ CBC web radio station). Listen with your kids!

2. Sing

I often hear from parents who say they aren’t comfortable singing. My response is always that your kids don’t care—they just want to sing with you. You can have so much fun singing with your kids!

Growing up in my family, everything was a song. There was a song for doing dishes, songs in the car, songs at home.


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As a preschooler, I even sang to local merchants in the neighbourhood. There was a woman named Olga who worked at a bakery near our house and I would serenade her regularly. She loved it so much that I'd always leave with a cookie!

Singing is so natural for kids. It can bring so much more fun to any occasion. You can sing simple songs from your own childhood or lullabies at bedtime, including my song Goodnight.

 

You can also have lots of fun making up songs together. 

3. Play

Learning to play an instrument can be magical for children. At age four, my daughter Ella started learning to play piano and when I hear and see all that she’s learning, it’s a magical experience for me as well. 

Learning to play a musical instrument empowers and inspires children. It often takes finding the right teacher or mentor for those kids to flourish.

When I was a child, I had a number of good teachers. Then, as a teen, I was lucky enough to find an incredible mentor who took me on as a guitar student. It was that mentor who helped me recognize what I love about music and helped me see all the possibilities that music offers. 

Ella is inspired to learn more every week. She's in a program called Music for Young Children that is well-suited to her style of learning. I find the program provides an incredible introduction to music and the piano for kids.

4. Dance

Dancing is definitely among the best ways to encourage a love of music in your kids. As a children’s musician, I get to experience kids at their dancing best. It is a major motivator for my live shows and always puts a smile on my face. Sometimes the dance moves I see in the audience and on the stage make me smile so much, I can barely keep singing!

Dance with your kids. It's a great way to get physically active at any time of the year.

5. Record

Recording music is a fun way for kids to experience music from a different perspective—listening to themselves. With the technology we have today, nearly everyone can record their kids singing or playing an instrument.

It's incredible to watch children listen to themselves singing. Like the rest of us, they're often surprised by the sound of their own voices.

With my kids, I often use Garage Band on my Mac. You can record audio or capture a video of them performing or singing.

Another fun and simple way to record your kids is to use voice memos on a phone. This is a tool I use for my own song writing, as well as for my daughter if she wants me to record her singing.

6. Attend

Nothing compares to the experience of live music. If you want to inspire your kids to have a lifelong love of music, take them to concerts, festivals and other live performances. Seeing real people make music together is very inspiring and fun.

If you want to inspire your kids to have a lifelong love of music, take them to concerts, festivals and other live performances.

It’s also a great way for kids to learn how to be an audience member: when it’s time to clap, when it’s time to listen, when it’s time to dance and when it’s time to participate.

Canada boasts incredible music festivals from coast to coast. As a Vancouverite, I have a few favourite festivals in my city: Vancouver International Children’s Festival, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival and the Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

There are festivals like this all over the country, so go and experience them with your kids.

One more thing: always remember that music is fun! So have fun enjoying music with you kids!

Will and his Backyard Band will be touring Ontario this summer at the Hillside Festival in Guelph (July 24 & 25), The Merritt Park Amphitheatre in Welland (July 28) and Kids’ CBC Days in Toronto (July 29 & 30). Visit willmusic.ca for more details. 

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