We meet a lot of parents at Brooklyn Music Factory who are stuck with similar questions and concerns when they’re just starting out with music lessons. How do I get my kids to practice? When should they play? How much should they play? Should I push them to practice?
The bottom line is, you have to start thinking about the music lesson experience as a family affair. You’re not just dropping your child off at piano lessons (that’s the model that failed many of us when we were young and quit our music lessons). It takes an investment of time and energy, but the rewards are outstanding.
When you build a culture of music in your home, the motivation to play, improve on and enjoy an instrument skyrockets.
A Toolkit for Parents
So what should can you do from day one to make sure your family is engaged in making music? We do this every day and we’ve compiled a list of 5 very simple ways you and your entire family can start making music together this week. This list is available as part of a free Musical Family Toolkit we’ve put together, which also includes our gear buying guide, music store checklist and step by step instructions on how to build the ideal musical play space in your home.
5 Ways to Start Making Music With Your Family TODAY
- Percussion Party! Choose a favorite song from a CD, Spotify, etc and hit play! Everyone grab a percussion instrument (hand drum, egg shaker, tambourine, etc.) and plays along however you want. Take turns choosing the song.
- 3 Minute Jam: Set the timer for 3 minutes. Everyone choose an instrument to play. Choose one person to start playing a rhythm – any rhythm!- on their instrument. Everyone layers in one by one, listening to the next person. There are no “wrong notes” only fun sounds, and don’t forget to listen to each other! Play until the timer stops. Ready for more? Switch instruments and start again! Experiment with slow, fast, loud and soft.
- Favorite Things: Everyone grab a percussion instrument and sit in a circle. Start a groove together (which basically just means, start playing!). Choose a topic like animals, and take turns going around the circle, each person saying an animal. Only rule- try to say it along with the beat! Keep it going with foods, countries, movies, books, etc.
- 60 Second Piano Duets: Choose 2 people to play at a time. Sit down next to each other at the piano. Choose either white keys only, or black keys only. Set the timer for 60 seconds. Start playing! Explore the piano, almost treating it like a drum – and don’t worry, once there are no “wrong notes!” You are simply exploring and playing the piano – like a toy! 🙂
- Beat Master: This is a super fun call & response game! Everyone choose an instrument, and then choose one person to be the “Beat Master”. The Beat Master will say a phrase like “My name is Thomas,” and the rest of the family must play the rhythm of what they said on their instrument. Choose 2-3 phrases and then pick a new Beat Master. This might get a little silly! 🙂
Try any one of these music games with your family and you’ll already be ahead of the curve when it comes to starting music lessons right.
It starts with you mom and dad!
We put together this Musical Family Toolkit to help parents everywhere start their family’s music lesson journey in the best way possible, based on the lessons we’ve learned here at Brooklyn Music Factory working with thousands of families.Download the toolkit