I received a great question from a Maven reader earlier this week:
I would love (and appreciate) a future blog post about a musician parent helping your child to learn music. Do you have someone else teach your child piano? How do you combat power struggles? At what age did you have your kiddo start piano?
Given my love and belief in the value of music training for healthy child development, it’s a no-brainer that my kids will be involved in music. They don’t have to love it and I don’t expect them to make a career out of it…but if they have to learn English, math, and science, then by golly they have to learn music as well.
My kids get a double dose of this philosophy as my husband is a conductor and music educator. We have had many conversations over the years about what we want for our children when it comes to music training. And arts training in general…dance, visual arts, etc.
When it comes to early music exposure—which I’m considering to be music exposure before age 5, or pre-formal schooling—there are several options.You can take classes. It’s likely that your town has a mommy and me music class or an early childhood music education class, such as Kindermusik and Musikgarten.
If your child is in a daycare or preschool, it’s likely that they are being exposed to song and instruments. Daycare providers and preschool teachers know that music can be a great tool for learning, focusing, and engagement and I’ve yet to meet one who doesn’t incorporate music regularly into the day.
You can also expose your children to music at home. This is what we did.
I didn’t do any formal music classes with my children. We’d sing and play around on the piano. I also kept some of my hand percussion instruments accessible for them, the ones that I didn’t mind them playing with. Given our jobs, my kids have been to dozens of concert and marching band performances, as well as operas, choir performances, and orchestra concerts.
In short, given that music is such a big part of our lives, we didn’t make a direct effort to have our kids participate in a formal early childhood music education program.
I know this doesn’t directly address the Maven reader’s question—I will cover that next week when I talk about our son taking piano lessons and the parenting choices we have made on this journey. But I wanted to share a little of what we have done music-wise in these early years, because those early years are SO important for learning and development.