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Your Child’s Music Life

How can music live in a child’s life? How do children develop their musical taste? How do you choose the right instrument is for your child? What is an appropriate time to start lessons and how do we ensure it is a positive experience?

These are all common questions we as parents have about how best to support and include music in our children’s lives.

Music is a universal language, and it is rare to find anyone who just plain does not like music. Musical taste is subjective, and can vary with temperament, personality, mood and many other mysterious factors. Music has played an essential part in the developmental life of human beings since Primal times.

As a violinist, music teacher, parenting educator, parent and grandparent, much of my life has been dedicated to fostering love, appreciation and participation in music for children of all ages.

Listening to music is magical for a child. It helps them to feel grounded, soothes them, develop a balance and life-rhythm. It can usher them into the sleep world and can help children develop language skills, Music fosters an appreciation of diversity and offers an experience of cultures from around the world.

Live music is the pinnacle of the music experience. Whether the music is experienced in a casual or concert setting, or on the street, live music gives you a complete visceral experience. Children love to watch, feel and hear live performances, as long as they are not overly loud or intense, and you as a parent know your child and what will overwhelm them.

Listening to recorded music gives us more choices in regard to the message we want for our children. We can choose from the music of our youth, current pop music, or music of the ages, as we can help to cultivate our child’s music life. Many of our favorite artists have children albums as well. Kenny Loggins has a fabulous selection of children’s albums that my whole family has loved. With recorded music, quality of sound, volume and message are all within the realm of our ability to supervise and manage for our children. Common sense must be used when listening to music through headphones or ear buds, as they can damage hearing even at moderate levels, and often do not foster participation and being present.

Singing is a blissful way of experiencing music. We sing in the car, while we work and in the shower. Our children sing as they play, go to sleep and wake up. An amazing voice teacher convinced me that we all have a beautiful and unique voice. His job was to help us find it. That is something we can do with our children on a daily basis. Finding one’s own voice involves natural breathing, self-discovery, vibration, and letting the song flow out. My teacher believed that “tone-deafness” could be overcome by finding ones own voice.

Playing a musical instrument brings enjoyment, as well as tools for development of all kinds of life skills and abilities. Music lessons with a passionate and competent teacher on an instrument that is right for the child can provide understanding of self-discipline, the concept of “practice” in life, as well as tangible results in the areas of spatial reasoning and even understanding of math. A child can practice for 20-30 minutes and actually witness being able to play something that was not possible only a short time ago. The child’s intuition and fascination with a particular instrument, as well as your intuition can lead you find to the right instrument. In if a child five years or older shows an interest in an instrument and has a reasonable attention span, give it a try! Don’t be hesitant to try it out, and put it on hold if you find the child is not actually ready. (Some wind instruments are better at an older age depending on lung capacity. Violin and piano can be good starter instruments.

Music has many connections with life itself. I teach my students that music is comprised of three basic components; pitch, pulse (rhythm) and tone. Pitch is like truth. There is that one spot which we hear as “in tune” and it resonates in a truthful way. Tone (how the music sounds) is like beauty, and we experience it much like we would a great painting or being in at redwood forest.
Pulse (or rhythm) is like balance, something we all strive for.

Participation, encouragement and guidance in your child’s music life will support healthy development, and bring joy and love to your family life!



Copyright Rick Concoff 2011

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