How to Get (and Keep) Your Kids Excited About Classical Music
Listening to classical music makes kids smarter? True or not, lots of parents say that when their kids are introduced to classical music, they enjoy it just as much as other kinds of music.
You’ve already exposed your children to classical music. “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” is a Mozart melody and “Brahms Lullaby” is of course by Brahms. Many parents have asked us how to introduce classical music beyond the treasured nursery rhymes. So, here are ten tips for how to make the music of Beethoven, Bach and company not just fun and enjoyable for your kids, but for you too.
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
Classical music isn’t the only music that’s good for your kids. 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.
The majority of music people hear is recorded. But everyone gets a heightened appreciation of music when they see it performed. When you go to a concert hall you’ll hear the music, you’ll see and feel it come alive. The presence of an audience influences and helps shape the performance. Most symphony orchestras have programs for children that introduce them to composers and their music, and give them a chance to meet musicians, see a variety of instruments, and, of course, experience a concert hall.
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.”
Point out that classical musicians are a lot like musicians of today. Mozart and Mendelssohn both started their musical careers and became extremely famous at a very young age, just like LeAnn Rimes, Britney Spears and Stevie Wonder. And one hundred fifty years ago the composer and pianist Franz Liszt dressed up in costumes as outrageous as Elton John, Liberace and even Ozzy Osbourne. This is a just a start – you’ll be amazed at how many more similarities you can find.
Reprinted with the permission of the Parents' Choice Foundation. © Copyright 2012 Parents' Choice Foundation. All rights reserved.
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