I’ve been playing piano for over 30 years. I love music, instruments, and just about anything that can carry a tune. My father was one of those pianist that could sit down, think of a tune, and just play it – even if he had just heard it earlier that week. He loved to dabble in writing his own music, just for our family enjoyment, and they were often compilations of various songs he had recently listened to.
From a very young age, I received formal piano lessons. I hated it at first, but playing those keys came incredibly natural to me. It was fun being able to create music with such ease. I think one of the most important things I had going for me was that I had a good ear for music. I could feel it, I could see it, and I could create it.
As a mom, oddly enough, I’ve found it hard to translate that to my kids. But over the years, I’ve worked on helping them develop an ear for music, and I’ll let them decide what their favorite outlet of music making will be. But for now, I’ll keep exposing them to various out-of-the-box and maybe unconventional methods of helping them develop an ear for music.
Here are some of my tips to helping your kiddo, of any age, develop an ear for music.
When I first sat my kids down to really listen to music, we sat down with just a handful of some of my favorite vinyl. What I love about music from back in the day is that you can close your eyes, and just feel each instrument playing its part. It’s beautiful.
We enjoy all things from classical to rock music, but for this particular moment – I went with some of my favorite jazz.
Make It Fun
Training an ear well requires time, constant exposure, and practice. Because of this, it can become dreadful. So stick with fun settings, great music, and even try to make it a bit of a competition. Tell your kids something like “the first one to call out an instrument correctly gets to pic our movie for family movie night”. Or something like that, just so it keeps them excited!
Let Them Create
Understanding instruments makes me kind of cringe when kids who don’t know how to play try to play. But I learned that letting my kids create music on their own was instrumental to helping them develop an ear and passion for music. Let them grab that guitar, play on that piano, or try to make music on that violin. Through this they’ll learn what works and what doesn’t. Much like when they learned to walk, they’ll learn the same but with music. They begin to tap into parts of their brain that is rarely tapped into, thus helping their development all while enjoying the instrument. Plus, it’s so much fun to record those moments and then come back to them once they’ve improved their skills!
Grab A Music Theory Book That Rocks
You know those resources that you just never do without once you have them? Those resources that are just a sea of great information are hard to come by.
In full disclosure, I received a copy of Garage Band Theory and was compensated for my time. In no way does this sway my opinions.
Garage Band Theory is that book for us. And I’m a music theory book snob, so I promise you – that is saying a lot! I have passed up endless book recommendations for music and music theory instruction, but this one – it’s staying in our library and we will continue to put it to use over and over!
The author has been a professional musician for thirty years, and then spent a decade as a teacher. Garage Band Theory not only has a fun and quirky name to it, but it is a comprehensive guide for all level of musicians (beginners to experienced). The book covers several instruments too, which is a huge plus! I highly recommend that you go grab a copy for your family to enjoy!
What are some ways YOU encourage that music ear and teach music theory to your kids? PS: Enter for a chance to win your very own copy of Garage Band Theory!
Garage Band Theory