5 Ways to Make Your Summer More Musical

Jul 11, 2016

The summer is here and after many months of routine your kids are free! All of a sudden, it has become increasingly difficult to get them to practice their instruments since lessons have stopped until September. As parents who want to encourage a love of music in our kids, what do we do now?!

I believe that the lack of routine and structure that the school year provides can actually be an incredible opportunity to really foster a love of music in your kids. Here are five simple musical things you can do with your kids this summer to foster that lifelong love of music.

1. Sing-along road trips

This is one from my childhood as well as something we do now as parents. Are you going camping? Maybe to the cottage? Well put down the iPad and pick up the ukulele! There are so many fun camp songs you can do in the car. When I was a kid, we would spend hours singing on road trips. Not only is it fun but it builds family cohesion and creates a much more pleasant family tradition than fighting over tech gadgets and radio stations. Find a comprehensive resource for camp songs here.

2. Go to folk music festivals

Right across Canada there is an incredible network of folk music festivals. I recommend folk festivals here specifically because they are great music festivals for families. The music is always incredible, and while you may not recognize the artists on the bill, you and your kids will be exposed to many new musical experiences that you will love and that will expand your horizons. You’ll dance, you’ll sing, you’ll laugh, you’ll probably cry, you’ll be immersed in a beautiful and temporary community that does not exist in the same way anywhere else. Some of my favourites are the Vancouver Folk Festival, Vancouver Island Music Festival, Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival, Edmonton Folk Festival, Calgary Folk Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Guelph’s Hillside Festival, Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Nova Scotia, Cavendish Beach Music Festival in P.E.I., Folk on the Rocks in Yellowknife, The Dawson City Music Festival and Alianait Arts Festival in Iqaluit.

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3. Have a backyard dance party

This one is easy, takes virtually no planning and is just plain fun. Put some speakers outside, put on your family’s favourite tunes and dance! It’s fun and it’s exercise. Get your kids to invent new moves. Take turns copying each other. Shoot video of this, trust me, the kids will love watching themselves dance like crazy. If you want to up the ante a bit, invite other neighbourhood families and dance, dance, dance!

4. Organize a beach jam

If you don’t live near a beach, you can do this in a park. Bring a guitar down or some hand drums to the beach. If your kids play instruments, bring them along too, as well as percussion instruments like maracas, egg shakers and tambourines. Put out a blanket and jam! Kids love to explore the different sounds they can make with instruments, so let them do it. This jam may be quite musical but it will more likely be pretty avant-garde! It doesn’t really matter, just so long as you’re having a good time.

5. Organize a house concert

If you find it hard to get out to concerts now that you have kids, you can always organize a house concert and invite your closest friends. If you know of a local musician, or one who may be on tour in your town, reach out and see if he/she would be interested in performing in a house. Typically, the ticket price would be based on the number of guests and the artists’ fee for one or two sets of music (which can range from $500 to more than $1,000, depending on the artist) with all sales going to the artist. House concerts have become very popular in Canada as well as other parts of the world. Both artists and guests love this format because it offers an intimate concert, with an attentive audience. These concerts may not always be suitable for kids, but if the hosts want to open it up for all ages, this can be an incredible opportunity for kids to hear some great music that they may not be exposed to because often concert venues are not open for all-ages.

Will Stroet stars in Will’s Jams airing weekday mornings at 7:25 AM & 9:25 AM on Kids’ CBC and on our YouTube channel here. Will and his Backyard Band will be performing at CBC Vancouver’s Musical Nooner Kids’ Day on July 12 and at Toronto’s Kids’ CBC Days on July 20 & 21. For Will’s other Canadian tour dates, visit and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @willstroetmusic.

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