March is music appreciation month, so that has me thinking about how often we listen to music, play music, and make original music. Surprisingly music seems to have invaded every part of our day and I firmly believe it’s for the better.
“Sumic please mommy!” We’re never too far down our street when Lil’Bro makes this sweet request. “Sumic” is my two-year-old’s word for music. Like most of us Lil’Bro loves to have the tunes on when we go anywhere in the car. Whether we realize it or not music has become an integral part of our daily lives, so why not embrace the role it can have in your child’s learning and development. Here are four reasons why we make music a part of our homeschool.
1. Music introduces children to unique cultures and their history.
Native American drums. The Aboriginal didgeridoo. Bagpipes. The key-tar. Each of these instruments represent a unique style of music as well as a different culture and people group. Different musical styles can serve as a window into the lifestyle of the people who perform it. Bruno Nettl, noted ethnomusicologist, once said, “One cannot really understand a culture without taking into account the almost inevitably great importance of its music.” [source] A few years back we pulled out some celtic music at St. Patrick’s Day and did our best to dance a little jig. The experience made the holiday about more than four leaf clovers and rainbows. Incorporating music led us to curiosity about the clothing, customs and history of an entirely different culture.
2. Music keeps children active and moving.
Did you know, “One of music’s energizing effects comes from its ability to engage the body’s sympathetic nervous system. The activation of this system readies the body for action whenever we face a challenge in our environment.”? [source] Upbeat music is a good motivator. In our house, when there’s lots of house work to be done we crank up the music! Up tempo music gets us moving and helps us power through the chores we all dread. The next time the laundry is pilled to the ceiling and you can’t see the bedroom floor for all of the toys layered a foot deep, turn on the tunes and get your kids in on the “fun” of house work! Hey, it’s worth a shot.
3. Music offers children an outlet for self-expression.
Kia Portafekas, author of Making Music with Your Child, notes that “making music with your child gives parents and children the opportunity to express themselves in ways that words cannot…Music is the key that unlocks creativity and opens the door to self-expression.” [source] We definitely have found this to be true in our household. Lil’Man likes to write songs with his friends at bible study based on what they have been learning. He looks forward to going each week so they can see what each other has written and practice. Even my husband has music running through his veins. He tells me that he relies on film scores to keep him focused on a task at work or to help boost his creative thinking.
So whether your child is a musician, a writer, a dancer, an artist, a LEGO master, or a magician in training, music could be the thing that inspires them to practice and perfect their craft.
4. Music is fun!
I heard someone say once, “If you aren’t having fun you aren’t doing it right.” That old adage is true of music in your child’s education. Music is fun and with a little imagination you can incorporate music into just about any part of your child’s learning. We use music to practice Spanish, learn the Presidents, reinforce science vocabulary and memorize scripture. The possibilities are endless.
Go ahead. Give it a try.