The top 5 musical things parents can do - Exposing kids to good music

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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:21 am

Anyone involved in music professionally or recreationally can see that the music scene for young people is both healthy and very sick. On the one hand, there have never been more options for children and young people to hear "music," on the radio, in movies, on TV, over the Internet and by purchase of music in various forms. On the other hand, many of us feel that much of the music kids listen to has never been less musical, perhaps in some small ways contributing to the general coarsening of society going on around us. Sadly, most kids gain little to no exposure to serious music, either in popular culture or at home.

Against that seemingly discouraging backdrop, what would you say are the top five things parents can do to broaden their kids' exposure to and appreciation of music? What do you do with your kids? Even though most of us could produce a long list, limiting it to five should force us to make some of the same kinds of decisions about time allocation that parents must make with their children. We would like to hear from everybody on this one, since almost everybody can offer insight.




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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Tue Mar 08, 2005 12:31 pm

I don't have five, but here's Number One: Be a parent who YOURSELF chooses to enjoy good music, better TV fare (what little is available), good books, wholesome entertainment, a healthy diet and lifestyle, and a joyous and vibrant outlook on life, and makes these things readily available.

Albert Schweitzer said, "Example isn't the best way; it is the ONLY way." Kids will follow and emulate the role models they respect.

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Postby 65-1074818729 » Tue Mar 08, 2005 8:59 pm

Dr. Bill has pretty well summed up my thoughts on this interesting subject. However, I will add the following points.

1. Expose your children to quality music early in their lives.

2. Play music that is recorded by quality musicians, and produced by quality recording companies. Singers, for example, sound totally different when backed up by a full orchestra rather than one or two instruments.

3. Be careful not to criticize (too much) genres of music that you do not like. After all, children have to experience the bad music before they can appreciate the good. You cannot force someone to like a particular style or genre of music.

(A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.)
Sir Winston Churchill

4. This quote from Dr. Bill's post disserves to be repeated.
Example isn't the best way; it is the ONLY way."


AFlat :D
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Postby Lyndall » Wed Mar 09, 2005 10:18 am

The role model thing is pretty strong isn't it. Unless you think your parents are 'uncool', then you don't want to do what they do. I also agree with Aflat re not critizing other genres of music. Every style has a right to be called music even though we may not appreciate it. We need to encourage more of the good that's all.

As a child I was constantly exposed to classical music (as background music at home on the radio & from a million records & on the car radio where the classical station was the ONLY one ever on) but I can't say I appreciated it. In fact, I disliked it probably because it must have been uncool if my parents enjoyed it!

Now, however, I really love to listen to it & I wish my students did to. I'm just not sure they understand it - I know I never did. I couldn't hear (or didn't try or wasn't shown) the melodies that keep appearing so it seemed boring to me. Incidentally from age 12-17 I studied music at school where we analyzed classical music (symphonies, concertos, arias etc) so I did learn how to listen for the themes which did help me grow to like it).

It was also hard for me to sit through a classical concert even though I only went to 1 or 2. I loved to learn & play classical music, but when someone else was playing, my attention span went out the window.

Perhaps that's why my students don't listen to the CDs/tapes I make for them, or why they are not excited when I mention an upcoming classical concert? I'm not going to stop encouraging them though.

I thank my parents immensely for putting me through lessons for 14 yrs & I do thank them for their love of good music & good quality television, healthy lifestyle etc. I may not have appreciated it back then, but I sure do now.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Mar 09, 2005 10:33 am

AFlat wrote:Be careful not to criticize (too much) genres of music that you do not like. After all, children have to experience the bad music before they can appreciate the good. You cannot force someone to like a particular style or genre of music.


This quote from Dr. Bill's post disserves to be repeated.
Example isn't the best way; it is the ONLY way."


AFlat :D

Yes, I couldn't agree more wholeheartedly. Many children will rebel at any criticism of their music. Standards change with time anyway. My parents think that "big band" music is the best. When I grew up, I liked (and still do) Led Zeppelin, Steppenwolf, Cream, The Beatles, CCR, etc. The question is not one of criticizing, but allowing kids to experience a better quality of (and more constructive) music than the kind of coarse, sexist, expletive-laden stuff that passes for popular music today. Parenthetically, one wonders if, 30 or 40 years from now, today's children will still be listening to that kind of "music" or what they will think of it as adults. Will it go the way of "disco" or will it be considered "classic?"

If, after experiencing better music, people make decisions to go another way, that's their perogative and right. If, as parents and educators, we don't give them the opportunity to hear good music, let alone get trained in it, we have probably not done children a service.

By the way, I think (hope) you meant "deserves" rather than "disserves." :D




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Postby 76-1094931106 » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:12 pm

Lyndall wrote:As a child I was constantly exposed to classical music (as background music at home on the radio & from a million records & on the car radio where the classical station was the ONLY one ever on) but I can't say I appreciated it. In fact, I disliked it probably because it must have been uncool if my parents enjoyed it!

I also was exposed to alot of classical music and didn't always appreciate it! Me and my brothers all rebelled to a degree against my parents taste in music, art, food.... etc. But now that we've all grown up, we do many of the same things our parents did - partly because we see the wisdom in it now that you don't see as a child.

It's also important that parents allow their children to try a variety of instruments to deepen their appreciation of music. Some kids who say, take piano lessons and don't like it, quit and don't take lessons of any kind again. But when they're allowed to "experiment" and try different things, they usually find an instrument they enjoy - and if not.... at least they can probably appreciate the hard work it takes to be a good musician!
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Postby 76-1111364610 » Mon Mar 21, 2005 10:12 pm

Hello!
1. Listen to good music as often as possible.
2. Read stories about composers to help children get interested in music and want to learn more.
3. Sing (even if it's out of tune!).
4. Attend concerts. Some orchestras have special children's or family concerts.
5. Encourage children, not only in music, but in everything!
Lauren
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Apr 05, 2005 7:52 am

Dr. Bill Leland wrote:Be a parent who YOURSELF chooses to enjoy good music

This is great advice, but what if the parent would like to broaden their kids musical horizons, but doesn't have the knowledge or traning themselves to do it? What advice would you give them on where to start?

To start the discussion, I'll make a suggestion: Find out when Karl Haas' radio program "Adventures in Good Music" is on and listen in. It's always interesting and gives a taste of lots of good music, built around a particular theme. The program is broadcast on most public radio stations, as well as a number of commercial classical (no, that's not an oxymoron!) stations. BTW, Dr. Haas is a classical pianist of some note who performs regularly.

There are lots of other options, so what would you like or suggest?
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:21 pm

[quote]By the way, I think (hope) you meant "deserves" rather than "disserves."[quote]

Dr. Zeigler, thank you for pointing that out. Most definately I intended to say deserves

PS Also having trouble copying the quotes. It appears I am going to have to pay closer attention to details.

AFlat

:D




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Postby Beckywy » Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:27 pm

There was a violin teacher (I can't remember her name) who didn't believe in a well rounded child. She said that it's better for the kid to have 1 thing they are really good at, instead of being just average in many things.
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby Stretto » Thu Feb 09, 2006 12:40 pm

I second that! That's always been my philosophy exactly both as a piano teacher, as a parent, and for myself!!!!!

I heard somewhere that some kids when grown are actually angry at parents for having them overscheduled. I think more families are starting to realize that trying to be involved in every opportunity is not such a good thing as I see more and more articles written on the subject.

Even on the subject of music alone, it is possible to try to "do everything" rather than finding what musical areas and interests one has and concentrating on those. This can be anywhere from learning instruments, to musical activities, to styles of music one wants to learn, etc.
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Postby Stretto » Sat Jun 24, 2006 7:23 am

Well, while traveling in the car yesterday on a day trip, I asked my 4 yr. old daughter if she wanted to listen to some music and she said yes. Then I went to get out a cd and asked her, "would you like your Disney Princess songs (nice songs by the way) or Mommy's piano music?" She chose my piano music!!! :) - We listened to a cd that was a mix of various classical piano music. Not bad when a 4 yr. old girl picks classical piano music over Disney Princess!

As far as interesting kids in good music, I think it's easiest to get them interested starting at a very early age by having a wide variety of music available for them to listen to. Of course when my oldest was about 3, she didn't want me to play classical music in the house because she said it was too "scarey". I remember this too when I was little, my parents would play some classical music after we had gone to bed and if I wasn't quite asleep, I also thought it sounded scarey and would have to go ask them to turn it off.

But my parents had a wide variety of music around the house, probably a little of everything except rock and country, not just one style they primarly listened to. I remember really enjoying a record series they had with a variety of music including folk, civil war songs, western, polka, 20's, barber shop quartet, marches, broadway, etc. I liked it so much when I was grown, I had to beg them to let me take the record series with me. My parents actually didn't have the radio or music playing much but with their help, I was allowed access to all their records and allowed to choose one whenever I wished and get help putting it on.

A child, even a very young child, should have their own tape player or cd player and some of their own tapes or cd's - there are some tape players and cd players made sturdier for younger children. Parents can always help as I remember my kids having trouble pressing the buttons down for a while and knowing the right buttons, not knowing what direction the tape went in, and then being pretty good at pulling the tape inside the cassette way out! But by 4 or 5, it shouldn't be a problem. I miss the good days of kiddie records and record players. I like to call cd's records just for fun, lol!

As far as not stifling young people from listening to what's popular, for example when they're teenagers, I think it's most important that whatever they are listening to have decent lyrics and not lyrics that would be sending a bad message. I think parents should give guidance to their kids to read the lyrics on the music they choose and teach kids to ask themselves if the words are what they should be filling their minds with.




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Postby drewnchick » Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:59 pm

When I was growing up, my dad played all different kinds of music on the record and tape player. We grew up listening to Frank Zappa, Irish folk music, bagpipe music, big band and swing, Gordon Lightfoot, The Sound of Music, quite a bit of classic rock, and some classical. I think it helped ingrain in us a love for music in general. And I think if you can listen to a lot of different musical genres as a kid and think "that's pretty cool", it will transfer easily to classical music. At least it did for me.

It helped my ear too. As soon as I could play the flute, my dad would make me play Irish jigs with him while he played the guitar. The only problem was that he couldn't play the piano or write out the music, so he would just whistle it, and I'd figure it out. I got to the point where any note I heard, my fingers would automatically form the flute position for, and I knew what the note was. :D

Just listen and enjoy lots of music, and include classical in the bunch. Your enthusiasm will rub off on your kids, especially when you catch'em young!
Soli Deo Gloria
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Postby Glissando88keys » Tue Jul 04, 2006 7:17 pm

We may regard Classical Music as "good" music, as opposed to the music of the younger generation, but even in its hey day, many of the classsics were considered, by established society, too avant guard, violent, even heretical. The importance of any art to society, is determined precisely by those qualities that instill very strong emotions and reactions, whether positive or negative, in the individuals who view or listen to it.
I believe that music is one way in which rebellion and revolution can occur peacfully. It can instill great emotion, and can move a society to action.
I have encouraged my children's participation in school musical events, and also supported the expression of their own musical tastes, even when not up to my cultural standards. I remember when our love for the Beatles, Elvis and Rock music in general caused a strong reaction in many households. Many parents did not realize that rock music has its roots in black gospel music, which in turn, has its roots in classical and spiritual music. I am forever grateful to my piano teacher, and my parents who encouraged my interest in all music, by their opennes and acceptance and enthusiasm.
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Postby Glissando88keys » Tue Jul 04, 2006 8:04 pm

My answer to the question posed by Dr. Zeigler:
1. Love music, not necessarily the good stuff, but whatever personally moves you.
2. Sing your children to sleep, not only from day one, but while they are "in utero." (Or whistle, hum, or play music from any personally preferred sources)
3. Provide "quiet time" for kids to de-stress, in the hopes of stimulating their own creativity. Bombardment, even if it is artful, can be stressful.
4. Encourage their musical efforts by your participation, enthusiasm and continued support.
5. Provide challenge and opportunity for a budding musician.
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