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How Can I Interest My Child in Classical Music?

Much has recently been written on the benefits of classical music, especially with regard to young children. "Classical music will help your child to be smarter." "Listening to Mozart soothes a fussy baby." "Early musical training helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning." These are just some of the reasons that parents are anxious to introduce their youngsters to classical music at a very early age—or even before birth, for that matter, since some think that even infants in the womb can benefit from listening to Beethoven, Bach and Brahms.

Parents, take note! These claims are actually true. Children do gain enormously through the study of classical music. Not only do they use their minds better; they also learn to think creatively, imagining solutions to problems that are "out of the box." Youngsters who play instruments discover the rewards that come after hard work produces a successful performance. Those who belong to an orchestra develop discipline, a respect for others and learn to work as a team. Audience members gain insight into different cultures. All are exposed to the incomparable.

Here are some suggestions as to how you as a parent can interest your child in classical music:

  • Arrange a family listening time, with each person choosing his favorite music. Relax and enjoy what each family member selects.
  • Create a family music time during which family members play for each other or together and combine their assorted skills in playing, singing, or dancing. The type of music may vary, depending on family interests, the season, the current mood, and the like.
  • Plan a special outing to a ballet, concert, folk music festival, or a local production of a musical.
  • Read a music story to, or with, your child. This may be a story about composers or a classic music story (such as The Magic Flute or Cinderella.)
  • Enjoy a video together. Beethoven Lives Upstairs or Tubby the Tuba are good examples.
  • Revive your own music skills. You may even decide to take lessons yourself!
  • Listen to classical music on the car radio as you travel to and from after-school activities.
  • Tune into Classics for Kids® on your local public radio station or online at www.classicsforkids.com
  • Attend a performance of a local youth orchestra. Your child will enjoy hearing peers perform and the music played is generally quite accessible to youngsters.
  • If your child has been studying her instrument for awhile, consider enrolling her in a youth orchestra. Many have varying levels that are appropriate for beginners as well as for more advanced students.
  • If your child likes to listen to music while doing homework, tune in to the local classical station at this time.
  • Visit a music store or a piano store; look at and try out instruments.
  • Visit a local music school; talk to teachers, and perhaps sit in on a lesson
  • Play an educational music video game with your child. NOTE: The Classics for Kids® website has a list of such games.
  • Several books that can be found in the library show how to make musical instruments from found materials. Experiment with your child to see what you can create. Then make up a song to play together.

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