What does it take to raise musical children? Is it inherited? Encouraged? or does it just happen?
I'm a piano teacher and my husband is a music minister, so people tell us all the time that our children have no hope — they are going to turn out to be musical kids.
And it's turned out to be true. All three of our kids seem to have developed an ability for music; they can all sing and they've each chosen to learn either the piano or the guitar (at this point anyway).
But even parents without any musical background can raise musical children. Sure, if the parents are musical themselves, they might have an advantage, but there are steps all parents can take to help their children develop musical skills.
I've had a fantastic book on my shelf for a few years called Raising Musical Kids: Great Ideas to Help Your Child Develop a Love for Music. This book, written by Patrick Kavanaugh (the author of another wonderful book called Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers) is a tremendous resource for musical and non-musical parents alike who want to raise children with a love and ability for music.
Raising Musical Kids answers many often-asked questions raised by parents. As a piano teacher, I have been asked the following questions many times as well.
- Where is the best place to start my child in music?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of each instrument?
- How can my child get the most out of music lessons?
- How can I motivate my child to love practicing?
- What do I do when my child wants to quit?
Kavanaugh doesn't offer pie-in-the-sky answers to these questions. His responses and suggestions are honest, down-to-earth, and generally easy to implement. In fact, at the end of each chapter, he includes a "Making It Work for You" section where he assigns you, the parent, specific tasks to complete which will help you immediately implement some of the principles introduced in the book.
I don't believe this book is still in print, but it is still widely-available across the internet in used condition. Your local library may even have it on the shelf.
If you hope to raise your musical children that love and enjoy music, this book might be an excellent place to start. So pick one up and start reading!