Little ones – the pots and pans on the floor with wooden tools is hard to beat. I did not leave it here. I used to get on the floor with my son and tap simple sequences, it took him no time at all to start mimicking the sequence. Experiment with other textures too like mesh screen on the bottom of an old pot. Then bring in your voice and sometimes music they can accompany. My son and I spent hours doing this. It got to the point that he would start pulling equipment out of the cupboards to let me know he needed to play. The main thing across all early age groups is…if you love it, they are likely to love it too. Being in it with them and showing passion is important. Be sensitive to eardrums – yours and theirs. sometimes tupperware is a better alternative. Just keep looking for ways to mix it up and keep it interesting.
School aged kids – When the time comes to start lessons, just remember practice is likely to be met with some push back until they experience the rewards of working through pieces and seeing that they can do it. I will never forget my parents spending a fortune on lessons, then getting mad with my repetitive practice. To compensate for my disappointment, the music is on the stand at all times, and the fall board is up tempting my son whenever he enters the room. The only pushing I did was explain that he needs to learn before he can decide to quit. I explained that I did not want his quitting on my conscience. All kids are different, but breaking it up into short daily sessions is best (cramming before the lesson will lead to a real turn off).
middle school/High school – if they are still interested, and I hope my son is, I have already started researching music camps for him to explore his music without me in the picture as much. I am really looking forward to his independent surprises.
Pick the right school if you can. Deluxe family vacations and more frequent new cars have taken a back seat to investing in tuition for a school with a tremendous music program, and academics usually come right along with that.
I really believe having music as one of the skills in his toolbox is a tremendous gift that I am giving my son. At the very least he will know music from Mozart to Pink Floyd, Carmen McCrea to Woodie Guthrie etc., enough that it will be his to love or leave.
Thank you for reading…your comments are very helpful…music is so important and something that is not stressed in school so much as it used to be due to cutbacks. I think you would find the “Tiger Mom’s” (Amy Chua) approach a very interesting read if you have not already read it. So interesting from a cultural perspective.