How to Get Kids Into Classical Music
Once upon a time, classical music was pop music. It was fresh. People got excited about it.
That’s not the case today. A combination of mainstream pop music pervading the airwaves, and budget cuts to fine art programs in schools, prevents many children from experiencing classical music and its developmental benefits.
There’s no denying the countless studies that reveal the benefits of classical music on a child’s social and educational development. Listening and moving to classical and romantic-era music, and identifying with the emotions contained therein, can help engage a child in discussing his own feelings and emotions. One way to promote this development is through music lessons. Research by R. H. Woody in a 2004 issue of Music Educators Journal confirmed families as a primary motivating factor in children’s decisions to study music. Whether a child takes music lessons or not, parents can instill music in a child’s life at home simply by incorporating it into daily activities.
If they want to expose their children to classical music, parents must find fun and educational ways to integrate it into their family’s everyday routine. Here are some do-it-yourself tips for parents on how to nurture a child’s appreciation for music:
- Listen, listen, listen. Head to the library and check out recordings of classical music’s greatest hits. Turn the channel to old cartoons like “Bugs Bunny” and “Tom and Jerry,” whose soundtracks abound with classical music. Parents are also encouraged to make sure the car radio is tuned into the classical music station.
- Encourage your child to move to the music. Whether it’s beating a pan or blowing on any kind of noisemaker, any rhythm or makeshift instrument will aid in the child’s development.
- Remember to ask your child how the music makes him feel and what he believes the composer was thinking when he created it. Have your child draw a picture of his or her interpretation of the music.
- Research some of the instruments used in performing classical music and point out those instruments in the song. Apps like Vide Infra Group’s “Meet the Orchestra” can further help identify sounds and instruments.
- Surf the Web for classical music websites devoted to children. ClassicsForKids.com, DSOKids.com, and SFSKids.org are good starting points.
- Attend a live performance. Rather than spending a lot of money right away, start with a local high school or junior performance. If the interest is there, be sure to keep an eye out for a professional organization’s children’s concert.
Dr. Milton Allen (www.miltallen.com) is a conductor, clinician, speaker, author, and tireless advocate of music education. He serves as an educational consultant for Music & Arts, the largest band and orchestra instrument retailer and lesson provider in the country, with more than 100 retail locations across 20 states. For 60 years, Music & Arts has served students, teachers and families through retail stores and school representatives, facilitating rental and lesson programs.