Having played music basically all my life, I knew, even before my son was born, that I would try to guide him (and later my daughter) towards making music as well.
Music has a positive effect on all aspects of life, so setting kids onto a musical path is very beneficial:
- Playing music has a positive effect on academic results, regardless of sex or race
- People who play music have heightened social skills. Why? Since musicians are always in groups (bands, choirs, orchestras, combos, worship teams, etc.)
Mind you, I don't want them to play music professionally. I just want them to enjoy making music to themselves, and to others.
My son is 5 now, my daughter is 3, and we're making good progress. My son can already play a few chords on the ukulele, and he has a great sense of rhythm ("Daddy, check out this groove :-) ). I'm sure my daughter will follow.
How am I helping them to gain a deeper appreciation of music?
- The guitar is one of the best instruments to get our kids more interested in playing music. It's cool, it's accessible, and it sounds great.
- I've always had a guitar in our living room, that the kids could "play" whenever they felt the urge. I regularly pick it up and play it with them.
We play popular children's songs, and make up simple songs using simple chords, and sing along. It's amazing how just singing the name of their favorite cartoon character while playing 2-3 chords can get them fired up.
Of course, being an OK player, I play more complicated things for them as well, but interestingly enough, it doesn't keep them occupied for long. 1-2 songs at max, if they can dance along to it.
- It's important to keep the guitar out in the open, so they can pick it up anytime and doodle away. Don't get an expensive guitar ;-)
Now you might be saying, "Hey, but I don't play guitar."
You might be surprised that you only need to learn 4-5 chords to be able to play thousands of songs. In fact, loads of songs do well with just 2 chords.
Anybody can learn chords and how to strum online. Yes, it will take a few months, but it's worth it. I have 2 dad friends who I've taught the basic chords to, and they say that they have loads of fun with their kids. This interactive musical play will hopefully set them on the road to wanting to play an instrument as well.
Enrolling your kid is music lessons out-of-the-blue isn't the real answer, as they may feel forced to do something and resent it. When our kids see us do things that we enjoy, they will want to do it as well. Dale Carnegie, and countless others have told us that to get someone to do something, you have to make them want to do it.
So all parents out there, get yourself an acoustic guitar, learn a few chords, and introduce your kids to the world of making music.