No one is born musically gifted.
It’s a common misconception that some people are born with oodles of “natural talent,” while others inherently “can’t carry a tune.”
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Honest.
Here’s the scoop: neither of my parents are musicians. Both my sister, Nicole, and I went on to study music professionally. None of that had anything to do with good genes, or that we were somehow special.
So, what’s the “special sauce” that allows some students to easily excel in the arts while others show disinterest?
Simply put, your child needs opportunities to exercise her creative muscles.
In my case, I owe a lot of my ability to early exposure to the dances and music of my Greek heritage. But there’s a much more practical way to give this gift to your child.
One small hinge that opens a large door: singing to your child, from pregnancy, is the first, and most important step.
Singing to your child allows her to hear the expressive capabilities of the human voice, which encourages her to explore her own voice.
When you sing to your child, you are making her learn without her even knowing it. Pretty cool, right?
You don’t have to have a great voice. You don’t even have to have a good voice. Your child loves your voice, and that’s all that matters.
And it doesn’t matter what you sing. Sing whatever you already know by heart. Or better yet: make up your own songs.
One huge benefit of our Musikgarten classes is that our members are constantly learning new songs to sing to (or with) their children. The development of creativity requires new, fresh exercises on a regular basis.
But if you’re just starting out, make it up or sing what you already know. Singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to your baby as a lullaby is better than doing nothing.
Make it a daily routine. That one small change will open up a whole new world to your child.
Here’s the catch: your window of opportunity to unlock your child’s inner musician ends shortly after their fifth birthday. If you’re reading this, chances are there’s still time. But, starting now is important.
Leave a comment and tell us what you sing to your child.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”
- Pablo Picasso
There I was toward the end of the preschool class. The kids were getting tired, a little loopy, and totally distracted.
I had one more song to lead, the silly one about the man in the moon. I had pre-written lyrics, and no matter how awesome I thought the song was, I was losing the kids.
Then it hit me… “Make it about THEM.”
“There was a man lived in the moon,
lived in the moon, lived in the moon,
There was a man lived in the moon,
and his name was Aiken Drum.
And his hat was made of…
“Joey, what was his hat made of?”
He thought… and thought… “Hmm. Pumpkin Pie!” (Yes, this was the class before Thanksgiving.)
And the kids lit up, and they focused.
We went around the circle, inventing these silly, goofy notions about this man in the moon, and the ideas the kids had were BRILLIANT! They sang with so much more energy because they were seeing this man in the moon with their own eyes.
His hair was made of “pink paint”!
His buttons were made of “strawberries”!
Here’s how you can help reveal your child’s imagination at home:
Ask Your Child to Make up New Words to Well- Known Songs
In my house, you’ll hear songs like “Twinkle Twinkle In the Sun”, as re-worded by Sarah, my 3-year old, or many adaptations of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”.
You can start out slow and easy by asking your child to alter one word. Like, “Mary Had a Little_________?” It starts out small, but eventually, you’ll hear them making up their own words entirely.
Ask Your Child Make up Motions to Well- Known Songs
With fresh eyes, kids will find ways to move their bodies in ways you wouldn’t think of.
Take a song like “Rock-a-bye, Baby” and ask them to show you a rocking motion.
Or… “Gia, when we sing “when the wind blows”, how should we move our hands or our feet?”
One of the best parts about being a parent is that we get to see the world through our kids’ eyes. We get to see everything fresh. Music is a vessel for that vision.
Use the comments section to share how you see the world through your child’s eyes.