Guest Post by Marji of Do, Re…Me?
The beauties of Classical music are wonderful and we need to put these sounds into the ears of our children. One major benefit is that artistic music sparks imagination. As a culture, we prize intellect and innovation, but one needs imagination in order for these qualities to be employed to their utmost. Imagination will always improve the quality and capacity for beautiful things in your child’s life.
When children are surrounded only by music that is easy to listen to, their musical mind never goes beyond a narrow level of understanding. We need to put great things before our child to develop their appreciation for beautiful things. Just as we should show them the works of Monet and Van Gogh, we should present Bach and Beethoven too.
One way to incorporate some wonderful music into your routine is to set aside quiet listening time. Select a time of day when your child is needing “down time,” like after a robust morning outside, during an afternoon rest time, or to quiet down before dinner.
Choose a piece of music for your child to listen to while doing a creative activity. This activity could be anything where the child works with his or her hands, but should not be something overly complicated.
Here are some ideas:
- Drawing on a large piece of paper. Use various colors of markers/crayons.
- Painting on a large piece of paper – watercolors, washable paint, etc.
- Play-doh or molding clay
- Popsicle sticks, plastic bottle caps, toothpicks, craft pom-poms, strips of yarn, etc. for creating shapes, patterns, pictures, etc.
- Outdoor items: Leaves, twigs, stones, nuts, flowers, pinecones, etc. to create patterns
- Construction paper cut into various shapes and sizes.
These activities can provide a creative outlet for your child while he or she listens to the music.
To help guide your child, consider doing the following:
- Ask your child to draw or create what the music makes them think of.
- Ask your child to make a pattern with their objects that they think fits with the music.
- Do this activity WITH your child for the first few times if they need help knowing what to do. In this way, you help them to have a starting point so that they can move on with their own ideas.
Here are some recommendations of classical pieces that are more “kid-friendly:”
- Hoe-Down from “Rodeo” by Aaron Copland
- In the Hall of the Mountain King from “Peer Gynt Suite” by Edvard Grieg
- Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, First Movement, by Johann Sebastian Bach
- Troika from “Lieutenant Kije Suite” by S. Prokofiev
- Overture from “William Tell” by G. Rossini
- “The Stars and Stripes Forever” by J.P. Sousa
- Russian Dance from “The Nutcracker Suite” by P.I. Tchaikovsky
- Spring from “The Four Seasons” by A. Vivaldi
- Promenade from “Pictures at an Exhibition” by M. Mussorgsky
- Movement 2 from “Symphony No. 7” by L.V. Beethoven
- Waltz of the Reed Pipes from “The Nutcracker Suite” by P.I. Tchaikovsky
- The Aquarium and The Swan from “Carnival of the Animals” by C. Saint-Saens
- Menuet from “le Tombeau de Couperin” by M. Ravel
- Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring by J.S. Bach (suggestion: arr. by Alfred Reed)
Some tips for selecting and using music:
- Choose recordings by real symphonies/musicians, not computerized renditions.
- Play the music loudly enough to be effective. This music is meant to be heard boldly!
- Be positive and enthusiastic about the examples you choose. You may find both you and your child are uplifted to beautiful, exciting and creative places you had not been previously.
Enjoy and explore! Music truly does enrich your child’s heart, soul, and mind.
Marji Harding is a mother to three boys and spends most of her days sidestepping LEGO’s, narrowly missing flying balls and giving approval to building projects. She blogs about the joys and challenges of developing musicality in her children at doremejourney.blogspot.com.