The key to academic achievement and self-discipline and a boost to imagination and creativity.
At the beginning of this summer holiday, my children showed a genuine interest in playing the recorder after hearing a professional musician play some magical tunes at a children’s party. They were mesmerized and after I told them that mastering such expertise in music-making, requires a great deal of effort and hard work, they were well motivated to do whatever it takes to learn how to play the recorder. So I bought them both a recorder and have been lucky enough to find a good music teacher to show them the way. They are happily practicing at home and, although at the beginning I did need to pretend I was all ears while discreetly listening to Enya on my I-pod mini, now I find that there’s no need for extra soundtracks while my kids are practicing their tunes because they are getting a lot better and they are making me feel proud. As for the school results, we’ll see how they get on when they start school and I’ll keep you posted.
As for now, , we do try to expand our elementary school children’s interest towards music, crafts and arts by making sure we spend some good quality time dedicated to this purpose:
Here are a few tried and tested ideas for early childhood musical and artistic education:
- Using an empty cardboard shoe box (or a tin biscuit box) and a few rubber bands, craft a nice and more or less fully functioning guitar. Experiment with the different sounds made by the makeshift guitar: the box acts as an audio amplifier when transmitting the vibration of the elastic bands within the interior of the box and hitting the interior walls.
- Get kids moving and burning off some of the extra kid’s energy and grown-up calories with a dance party.
- Bring out the paints, canvases and brushes and put on some music! The kids will paint the way the music makes them feel. “I like to move it move it” gets nothing on the canvas, Enya inspires them to beautiful smooth lines, shapes, and seascapes while Queen urges them to choose vibrant colors and bold brushstrokes. It’s fascinating!
- Teach your kids how to play chess! Play chess with them while listening to classical music. I find that classical music helps them concentrate better and helps me have more patience, lecture less and be more tolerant towards the little beginner’s mistakes.
- Allow your children to help you in the kitchen. Make their favorite meal and let the music fill the place. Your little chefs will get opportunities to practice reading, improve their coordination skills and dexterity and they’ll get to understand the benefits of following instructions. Read more on how to keep it together and have fun while cooking with children here.
- Boost your children imagination by asking them to make their favorite stories come to life. Prompt them to put on a show for you based on stories that they know. If you only have one child, get involved in the acting or invite other children for a play date. Provide them with dressing up costumes, improvised masks, hats, or even better; give them the means to make their own. Honestly, my children, aged 7 and 8 can spend hours organizing a 10 minutes show and they’re great at it…well very funny I mean.
- Lego is another ‘toy’ that will give them the opportunity to bring together all the newly acquired skills and motivate them further by helping them understand the utility of learning and putting in the hard work. Together with the kids, create a little movie using, Lego, camera and the soundtrack provided by the kids (it can be acting, reading or playing a musical instrument). In this video, the kids have Build a Lego scene with Lego men and have taken several photographs of them in slightly different poses. My daughter played the tune on the recorder that she learned just after her second music lesson. I then used Windows Movie maker to put it all together and publish it on YouTube. Steven Spielberg, here we come!!
- Learning a musical instrument is a great indoor activity for those rainy or too hot days, keeping children busy and well entertained as well. They also get a sense of achievement when they manage to play a tune, a song or completely master the musical instrument. A few hours a week spent learning how to play a musical instrument has also been shown to improve both math and reading test scores, along with providing them with a musical education. Being motivated by their own desire to play like a pro, kids will learn a lot about self discipline and the rewards of perseverance, this boosting their confidence and sense of identity.
TakeLessons connects students and families with private music teachers, arts instructors and academic tutors throughout the US. Finding the perfect music teacher and booking a set of music lessons has never been easier and more affordable. One to one music lessons, individual lesson plans that are adjusted to the child competence and his learning style is the norm. TakeLessons teachers can teach in your home or provide lessons at their studio. They also offer Online Lessons through Skype, which are a great option for busy families.