What kind of music should kids listen to at a young age? Here, five helpful tips on creating an appropriate musical library for your child.
October 9th, 2018
1. Music is not Just for Listening
Before you pick the songs, keep in mind that your child benefits from doing more than just listening. To get the full benefits of music, children need to sing, clap and dance along with the tunes. Singing and moving to music tells the brain to make meaning of it, a cognitive process called “audition audition.”
2. Start with the Familiar
When determining how to introduce your child to music, consider the songs you sang growing up and start there. Starting with nursery rhymes before gradually moving into folk songs and classical numbers as the children reach preschool age.
When in doubt, consult the experts. The National Association for Music Education created a list of 42 songs every American should be able to sing in hopes of uniting more people and communities through song.
3. Add Classical Music to the Mix!
As you expand your child’s library, consider adding classical music—especially if the piece tells a story or teaches them about instrumentation. You can try Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens or Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev, both of which use instruments to represent different animals and characters. The children can learn about specific instruments while learning a story.
4. What Should Be Off Limits?
While many music educators believe there is no such thing as too much music, it’s up to you to decide what, when, and how your child will listen to it. Some music educators caution against purchasing mainly “children’s music,” which may be more about the lyrics than the tune, and instead aim for child-friendly music.
5. Sharing Music Time
Your child may not like your passion for Pink Floyd, no matter how loudly you sing along, and that’s okay. The point is to give them time with the music they like, and then bring your music into play. Take them to an outdoor concert so they can see the music in action. The more they hear different types of music, the more expansive their tastes and respect for artists and genres will inevitably be.
This article is a re-post, with small modifications, of “What Music Should My Child Listen To?” an article published on pbs.org by
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