I’m not a music person. I can’t carry a tune to save my life. Can’t read music. Have no rhythm. I don’t enjoy it (unless it involves pushing “play” on something). To say it’s not my forte is putting it mildly. I have no desire to teach it, and I secretly hope that my kids don’t take an interest in music so that I don’t have to listen to them practice or go to any recitals. Sounds pretty horrible, right? Well, we can’t all be good at everything now, can we?
To top it off, there’s a ton of research that says that music is good for kids, good for brain development, makes learning math easier, and so on. Obviously, music is more than just entertainment, and it’s important. Are my kids doomed and going to miss out because of my lack of skills and lack of interest in music? Absolutely not.
They should form their own opinions, develop their own interests, and have every opportunity we can give them. So, we do music. How?
I’ve realized that while I can’t teach music (really, I can’t. I’m a lost cause), what I can do is be present and purposeful in sharing music with my kids.
Make Your Own Music
I grab random stuff that’ll make different noises from the kitchen and we do “kitchen music,” as Sweet Pea calls it. And, I get down on the floor and make music with them. We see if we can imitate what each other does. We test different tools out. We make loud sounds and soft sounds. Fast and slow. We test what happens if we hit different parts of an “instrument.” Basically, we just have fun making “music.”
I also make it a point to play different types of music for my kids. We listen to anything that’s appropriate for kids (thank you, Pandora and Spotify for making this easy). Now that Sweet Pea is a little older, we can talk about what we like, don’t like, how it makes us feel, and why. It’s a great chance to take turns choosing music and for her to practice making requests. She’s notorious for asking for certain music in the car and then asking me to adjust the volume.
Use your resources wisely!
Lastly, I make it a point to go to a local “mommy and me” music class put on by fellow moms in the community. And I participate. Fully and enthusiastically, even though I’d much rather be somewhere else, doing almost anything else. Do I look foolish? Probably pretty much guaranteed. Do I care? Absolutely not. My kids are having fun and more apt to participate when I am, and that’s what matters to me. And, you know what? Sweet Pea comes home and sings the songs (or tries to). She makes up her own songs too. And, THAT makes it all worth it.
I don’t tell my kids about my lack of skills, interest, or desire to do music. I don’t want that to influence them in a negative way. Of course, someday, they’ll figure it out. But, until then, I’m going to enthusiastically participate in our music class and keep making music on the kitchen floor with them. I’ll leave playing the piano up to my husband and friends who actually know what they’re doing, or who at least aren’t as horrible at it as I am.
I encourage you to do the same with whatever you’re “not good at.” Just let your kids take the lead and be present and purposeful in what you do. Put down your phone and sit with them while they explore whatever activity you’ve set up for them. And, try to have fun. It makes it better. I promise. 🙂