How can I start teaching my child music? With what do I start and at what age?
Sing, sing, SING!
It is never too early for your child to begin to learn music. When asked, “When should music education begin?” Hungarian music educator Zoltan Kodaly (1882-1967) replied, “Nine months before the birth of the mother.” An unborn child learns to recognize the voices or his/her parents. Similarly, songs are heard and the music learning process has begun!
Sing together as a family–in work, in play, in worship. Expose your children to music through live music in church, family-time, and family-friendly concerts. Listen to quality recordings. Seek to have music-making become a part of everyday life.
Here are some practical tips:
1. Sing to and play with your babies and toddlers.
2. In general, start songs higher. Young singers need to learn to sing in the head voice. Adults often pitch songs too low for children. Boys should learn to sing soprano with their mother (i.e. in the treble range) before their voices change.
3. Choose songs with a limited range (generally within an octave); these are more accessible for young singers.
4. Sing in church, follow the music in the hymnal, watch the song leader. “More is caught than taught” by what you show them. Teach your beginning readers to follow the text and notes.
5. Sing. Sing. SING. The voice is a free, natural instrument.