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Jul 13, 2004

🎧Listen to Cylindricule!🎵

Do you have kids, plan to have kids, babysit kids, teach kids, or otherwise know kids? Do you like performing and listening to music? And do you hope you can instill the love of something that’s been incredibly important in your life in a young human being bursting with potential?

Hello, I’m Brawnfire. You may have seen my posts before, in which case I’m surprised you clicked on this thread. I have a daughter, Samara, who is two and a half years old, and I stay home to raise her.

We do a lot of stuff together. Of course we draw, we eat snacks, we play games. Most of all, we share music together; listening, dancing, singing, clapping, playing instruments. Her mind is completely open, and her capacity for absorbing new ideas is enormous.

Though I’ve always been musical myself, my development of instrumental practice and learning music theory came later in my life, which has always held me back somewhat. I wanted my daughter to experience her most exploratory, adaptable years surrounded by instruments, by music, and by the freedom to experiment.

In that interest, I’ve made this thread; both to discuss a little bit about how I have attempted to scaffold my daughter’s musical play and to hear ideas from other posters about developing a love for music in children.

So first, I’ll talk a little bit about what I’ve tried to do to make my child’s musical play rewarding, fun, and educational.

Part 0.) Avoiding Stress:

I believe in cultivating a stress-free creative atmosphere around music for Samara. Kids get anxious, and do not always possess the means to express this anxiety. Unfortunately, this can poison otherwise fun situations, and cause them to avoid them entirely. Of course, this isn’t something I want for music for my daughter!

First, I allow her to approach the instrument first. This is a key indicator of interest, which is much easier and more likely to work than initiating play myself. Guiding questions are asked in a playful, calm, curious and even tone, more as suggestions of play than as queries for information. I don’t press for answers, but will repeat a question in case time was needed to absorb and think about the question. I attempt to cultivate a sense of relaxed and mutual creativity without expectations, and will not extend the play time after she has concluded it herself.

Kid-friendly Instruments

First and foremost, nothing facilitates musical play like an instrument which is easy for a child to manipulate, and which clearly distinguishes the notes of the octave. My first musical play with Samara was a simple toy glockenspiel, eight colored metal bars on a plastic base.

Though basic, this is ideal for getting started: right off the bat, you have a clear and colorful layout of an octave in C. Most kids’ songs you will know off the top of your head are in C, and very few stray from a single octave, so you should be able to introduce a number of simple melodies.

The piano or keyboard is also an excellent choice, due to its ease of use and the separation between naturals and accidentals. First order of business is to teach your child to visually distinguish the position of C, after which you should be able to perform or reinforce the same lessons as from the simple toy glockenspiel.

Casting out to C:

Every kid knows their ABCs. Chances are, you can’t get them to stop singing them. So I introduced Samara to the idea of scales by showing her that those letters can also be the names of notes. On the glockenspiel or piano, start with C and continue through D, E, F, G, A, B and C to complete the octave. Repeat this numerous times, and encourage your child to find C on his or her own and continue the octave from that point. Singing the letters on pitch along with the note is a good idea for reinforcement.

Proceed A-chordingly:

Don’t be afraid to dip your toes into chords a little bit. Now that Samara has solidified her understanding of where C is and what it sounds like, I show her how to skip a key on the piano and play two keys at once, C and E. I ask if this sounds pretty; she says it does sound pretty. I show her how a note will sound pretty with another note one key away. After some play, I show her you can skip another key and play a third note, making a chord. This is very pretty.

Playing Rhythm:

Rhythm is easy to instill in a child. They love to dance, to drum, and to clap and they memorize every ear-murdering kid’s song they hear. What’s nice about those songs, is that more often than not, they’re in simple 4/4 time.

Samara LOVES common time, and the exercises are fun: First, pick one of their favorite songs. As you listen, say “ONE two three four!” and clap on the beats. Before long, the child will be clapping and counting right along with you. When they do it right, make sure to be pleased and tell them it’s “common time” and “rhythm.” Remember, most of what it takes for a concept to stick is simple repetition.

Maracas, shaker eggs, tambourines, sticks, and hand drums are incredible facilitators to this learning. Kids get excited when their rhythm sounds good; they get even more excited when they’re part of a group rhythm. Get them started, then join in with another percussion instrument and watch their faces light up.

Guiding Questions:

These are some questions I like to ask my daughter as she indulges in musical play. The responses may surprise you! As always, I try to praise “correct” responses, but also praise “incorrect” responses, offer correction, and allow room for creativity. If she ignores my question, I wait a while and ask again; sometimes a child requires time to absorb your question. Don’t push them, though! Answering should be fun, not stressful.

>Is this note higher or lower than this note?
>Can you play a note that is higher/lower than this one?
>Can you play C?
>What comes after C?
>Is this C the same as this C? How are they different? Why do you think that is?
>Why do we name notes?
>Are there notes between these notes?
>Can you sing this note?

Chord Formation:
>Do these notes sound pretty together? Why do you think that is?
>Do these notes sound happy or sad together?
>Can you play two notes at the same time?
>Can you play two notes a key apart? What is that called?
>Can you play three notes a key apart? What is that called?

>What is common time?
>How many beats?
>Can you clap in common time?
>Can you stomp in common time? Can you do both at once?
>Can you make up a dance while I clap in common time?
>Can you drum in common time?
>Can you play this note in common time?
>Is this beat fast or slow?
>Is this beat faster or slower than the other beat?

>Can you make up a song?
>Can you make an angry song?
>Can you make a happy song?
>Can you make a sad song?
>Can you play really fast?
>Can you play really slow?
>Can you play really high?
>Can you play really low?

Useful songs to know with videos as I find and add links:

>Baa Baa Black Sheep
>Mary Had a Little Lamb
>London Bridge (Is Falling Down)
>Wind the Bobbin Up:
>BINGO Was His Name-O
>Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
>Three Blind Mice
>Hickory Dickory Dock
>Hey Diddle Diddle
>Little Boy Blue
>Baby Shark:
>Elmo's Song:
>You Are My Sunshine
>Rock-a-Bye Baby
>Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built For Two):
>Groovy Kind of Love:

Musical Games:

This is a section I would especially love input on other posters about. Games are a great way to educate, and I want to know what musical games you have for the children in your lives! These can be rhythm games, instrumental games, vocal games, even computer games or video games that are musical!


The Musical World of Mr. Zoink is a cute animated cartoon that introduces musical elements as characters and settings in a strange world. My daughter loves these and I kind of do too.

That’s all I got for now, but I’ll keep updating the OP with anything people contribute. I would especially love to hear from anyone who actually is a music educator!

Thanks, and have fun making crazy noises with kids!


Apr 8, 2009

I really love this video which goes in to why it's a good idea to expose your children to as much and as varied music as possible during one of the strongest periods of learning a human will probably experience

Jul 13, 2004

🎧Listen to Cylindricule!🎵

screaden posted:

I really love this video which goes in to why it's a good idea to expose your children to as much and as varied music as possible during one of the strongest periods of learning a human will probably experience

This is an incredible contribution, thanks! It's made me feel as though I might be coming on too simple, really.

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