You might be surprised to learn that children acquire the most basic musical elements when they simply receive normal levels of exposure to music in the early years. This is a result of genetics and environment interacting together. Both musically trained and untrained people show the ability to acquire musical skills. Regardless of the quality of musical environment, most people eventually achieve the ability to sing, at least at a basic level. To some small degree, in the absence of a musical environment, we will still acquire some music ability because our brains are hardwired to do so. So, what does all that mean? Your child will manifest some level of musicality, even if they only have a small amount of music in their environment.
But there is even better news: if you provide a few more musical experiences for your children, they most likely will blossom musically, despite your own musicality. Consider what kind of musical environment you have already unconsciously created for your family. It is possible that you have more musically related things going on than you might think? Perhaps you frequently sing or hum out loud as you go about your day. Or, you might tend to play a lot of music from your iPod, CDs, or the radio. Do your children see you singing the hymns during church services with enthusiasm? If you don’t do these things, maybe you are now realizing (as I did with sports, I’m sad to say), that you don’t do much at all when it comes to promoting music, and you hadn’t really thought about it a lot before now. More good news: this is incredibly easy to remedy and doesn't involve you having to take accordion or trombone lessons.
The easiest place to start is with the music you play in your home and in the car. Try to be more intentional with the music you listen to when your child is with you. Take a moment to put on recordings of hymns, classical, jazz, world, or children’s music as you drive, do chores, or as your child is playing. Young children are constantly absorbing what’s going on in their world of sound, so it can do wonders to offer up some excellent music for them to take in as you go about your normal day.
In my next post, I will share some more specific ways parents can build a more musical environment for the whole family.
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