In thinking about how we can “build our brand” as a vital member of a child’s education team, I thought about parents and how we can better connect with them. My hope is that if we give them simple ideas to try at home with their kids, they will not only have fun and bond with their children, they will also have an opportunity to see the benefits of music firsthand. There is study after study that espouses the benefits of what we teach, but parents think that one must be born with “the gift” in order to participate and create. Let’s obliterate this idea!
SIDE NOTE: Presently I am in the middle of the book This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel J. Levitin is passage in it that talks about a friend who visited an African village. When he was asked to join in the celebration with song, he declined stating that he does not sing. The villagers looked perplexed and said that if he can walk and talk, he can sing and dance! I LOVE THIS!!!
So, in this spirit, I offer you 5 simple activities that parents can do with their kids at home:
1. Encourage parents to sing with their children….it doesn’t matter what! They can sing along to their favorite tunes, sing songs they remember from their childhood or make up songs as they go. Assure parents that created songs do not have to be fancy ~ no one is there to critique them, and the words can be 1 sentence repeated or any sentence put to music. I have a whole song that repeats the words “the piggies and the toes and the toes and the piggies” …..great music it is not, but my daughter and I have fun with it, so who cares?
2. Encourage parents to dance, as well! We love our Amazon Echo! Every night before bed, my family has a mini dance party. My daughter’s favorite song at the moment is “Faith” by Stevie Wonder from the movie SING. If they want to take it a step further and add old scarves to add to their dance, then go for it!!
3. For little ones, utilize their bead maze, like the one shown above, by moving your voice higher as a bead moves higher ~ or lower, if the bead is sliding down. Of course, one must hold the bead as one sings, otherwise it will go too fast. Eventually a little one will do it on their own!!
4. Play a game! Today I checked my email only to find a fun lesson by Lynn Kleiner (https://musicrhapsody.com/). She took out her sopranino recorder and when she played, her students were to play their xylophones. I love this! I often do starts and stops with kids, but never in this way. Parents can make a game out of it at home and play any “instrument” they have in the house…..from homemade drums or egg shakers to a wooden spoon and a pot….and have kids move or play another instrument while parents play and stop when they stop.
a. Parents can utilize instruments they bought their children but have no idea what to do with them!!
b. Have kids just learning the recorder be the leader so that when they play, the parent moves