Recently I asked music and chorale teachers at Wesleyan School, a private Christian school with a thriving fine arts program, how parents can teach their kids to appreciate music. Here are responses from three more teachers.
Kathi Urban (Lower [or Elementary] School Music)
Parents may provide musical experiences for their children outside the arena of academia. Great family outings might be to a concert at Symphony Hall, or the opera, or going to the ball game and singing the “National Anthem” or “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. I also cannot stress enough the opportunities given by churches in the area of music. A strong foundation in church music is priceless.
99% of music is listening. Encourage your child’s listening skills. Read aloud to them – that is music to their ears. Play music and ask them to talk about it – what are their ideas? Listen to their music and help them discern good from less than perfect.
Encourage practicing of instruments be it piano, guitar, recorder or anything else. In the beginning the sounds may not be perfect, but given daily practice (even 5 minutes is grand) it will get better and all will enjoy.
Jeff Foster (High School Director of Bands)
Listen, listen, listen. Kids need to be exposed to all kinds of music. Take kids to concerts of all kinds. Give them recordings of their own – help them build a library of their own music. As they get older and feel drawn to more “pop” music, encourage them in that and support it, while encouraging them to also embrace the other music in their library.
Kelly Eastwood (High School Chorale)
Parents should try to expose their children to a variety of music starting at a very young age. Take them to the opera (you might have to bribe them!), encourage them to join the youth choir at church, and [if the symphony in your area offers outdoor concerts], take a family picnic to them. As a family, you can support the arts at [your school] by attending musicals as well as band concerts and chorale concerts.