As I sat and watched my children play, there was one thing I noticed they seemed to include in their playtime regardless of what they were playing. They always included music. I started paying more attention to how and why they included it. A lot of the times they wouldn’t actually need to hear the music being played because it was always playing in their heads.
Knowing my own obsession with music, I realized the best way to reach or teach my children was through music. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this, but I knew that it was a must. Having very little experience in homeschooling, I felt I had a huge challenge in front of me. Well, to my surprise, it was not as hard as I thought it to be.
As I prepped for the start of the school year, I realized that many of the songs in our Bible study were ones that my children already recognized, and so for me that was the starting point.
Using songs they already knew, I began to first focus on lyrics of the songs. We would have discussions of what the songs are trying to portray and what they understand from the songs. We would take some songs and read them as a poem just to aid in the focus of the words and not the melody. This was a little fun and challenging for them at first because the melody was stuck in their heads, but once they were able to tune that out they were able to open a new door to understanding what they were singing.
Now they are really on board. By focusing on the lyrics they were able to see ALL forms of music in a different light. Even though my main goal was to show them the song in a different light and how to better understand what is being sung, they were able to take it to another level on their own. My five-year-old is constantly asking about the songs that I am playing. “Is this song about God ?” seems to be the first thing she will ask when she hears a new song.
Now that we had a foundation to start from, it became easier to add music into the curriculum. For us the next stage was letting them see the movement of the music as they hear it. Now of course I am not going into detail about that, but I will say that it helped to have them take piano lessons. For you it may be violin or guitar, but any instrument will work. Of course, all three are ecstatic about it and are already planning on adding more lessons in other instruments as well. Yes, they all want to learn every one of those instruments.
Getting back to the topic, I am sharing this with you to simply show that music can be taught in so many different forms and styles. Many tend to jump right in with the classical composers, or theory, or maybe even the history. Now even though my children did not have issues with wanting to learn music, by starting with something they were familiar with, I was able to help them to understand the importance of the lyrics and nurture their appreciation for music.
If you are not ready to spend money on lessons, or just want to see where your children are in their interests, this would be a great way to start. I say this with confidence because I have not yet found a child that did not like at least one song.
So here are my suggestions:
1. Don’t push music on your child; instead, try to listen for the songs he/she sings or hums the most and start from there.
2. Instead of buying instruments for them to practice or explore, find a few books (be sure the books are at their level of understanding) that give brief and general descriptions of music or instruments.
3. Let them build their own instruments from scratch. I remember creating my own guitar in grade school with a shoe box and rubber bands.
4. Remember to always have fun with it. Just like with everything else, we want them to want to learn and the best way is through something they already enjoy.
Start small, and as they become more and more curious about the different aspects of music (especially if they see you having fun with it also), you can get more creative with how to teach them. These suggestions are just here to help give you another point of view to help get children interested in music. For me, it is just a part of who I am. This is not the same for everyone around me, though. So just take it slow and maybe even turn it into a game. You never know, for some, having music in their lives as well may give them that extra boost to do great things.