I was very blessed to be raised in a musical home. Everybody played at least one instrument and we enjoyed playing and singing together at home and with others at church and at the nursing home. It was a joy for us and I am hoping that my own little family will be a greatly blessed by music. I am going to list some of the things that I have seen in both my family growing up and as I raise my own kids now that have helped to make us have musical homes.
- Motivation. For anybody (child or adult) to want to spend time to learn an instrument there needs to be a motivating reason to do it. Most people aren't motivated by the fact that they will be able to play to entertain themselves. For me growing up my biggest motivation was getting to play for church. I wanted to get good enough at playing the piano that I could play for the song service. When I was in my teen years I would spend an hour or so every day practicing for that purpose. We were very blessed to be a part of a congregation that encouraged everybody that was able to take turns playing. We also used our other instruments in church when we would sing bluegrass style or using a praise band. The church also had frequent singsperations/music nights where people would bring special music. Other motivation that has worked for us or others I have seen work for my students is: Playing at nursing homes, playing at the fair, desire to be a music teacher and playing in an orchestra.
- Inspiration. If a child gets to see and be around others playing (especially playing well and in a fun style) they are much more likely to want to play as well. Family members are a great source of inspiration. Concerts are great especially when they have kids playing. We recently attended a Bluegrass festival that had families performing. My kids thought it was very cool to see other little kids up on stage.
- Environment. If you want music than create an environment for it. Have musical instruments that your kids can play, ( most of ours they have to ask first and I usually monitor but things like the piano they can play on at any time.) Buy musical toys (not the battery powered ones but things like xylophones, drums, recorders, maracas, etc.), let them play (I have heard many parents complaining about their kids playing- the noise, the screeching etc., that doesn't help the environment. Turn of your TV noise and let them play.).
- Appreciation. Teach music appreciation by listening to good CDs and others playing.
- Lessons. Lessons are very helpful though not totally necessary. I don't encourage starting your kids in lessons unless they really want to however and unless you and the child are willing to spend time practicing, it is a waste of your money and everybody's time to take lessons and not practice. If you spend the time practicing, lessons can help you learn much faster than working on your own, they also help to keep you motivated.
- Play Together. This is even fun with very little kids. As I practice my instruments, they all like to get out some too and we play together and sometimes they sing or dance. It is a great time even if they don't really know how to play. It is even more fun to play together once they do know how to play.
- Be Organized. Playing an instrument does require practice and in our busy lives sometimes that is hard to fit in. What has worked for us has just been including it as part of our homeschooling, practice is another things that has to be crossed off of the list every day. We set the timer during practice to make sure we get a good amount of time in. Little kids cannot usually handle a long time. Start with around 10 minutes a practice session and then keep increasing your time. Another thing with being organized is making sure if you are taking lessons to actually get to them.
I hope this helps you to have a more musical home!
"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn shout joyfully before the King, the Lord." Psalm 98:4-6