If you have children, or work with children in some way, I really think you should read Patrick Kavanaugh’s excellent and helpful book Raising Musical Kids: Great Ideas to Help Your Child Develop a Love for Music.
“Not all children will be musical geniuses like Mozart, or become professional musicians when they grow up. But they all should be allowed the joy of learning how to love great music.”
In highly readable and inspiring fashion, Raising Musical Kids answers common questions parents ask about music:
- Why should my child study music?
- How can I help my child love music?
- How can I take my child to concerts?
- Is it better to start with vocal or instrumental lessons?
- What are the pros and cons to different instruments?
- How can my child get the most out of music lessons?
- How can I motivate my child to practice?
- What kind of performances and groups should my child join?
- How do I handle it if my child wants to quit?
- Should my child study music in college?
I got so much out of the book, especially the incredibly helpful chapter on practicing (we’ve had some struggles with that this year), the section on how to take kids to musical performances (I had no idea you could just go meet the musicians after a concert! We’re totally doing that next time!), and the information about when and which instruments to encourage different types of kids to study. I also think the appendices on great music for kids to hear and books about music for kids are good resources.
I can see myself referring back to this book a lot as the kids grow up. While the parts I read most closely were about cultivating music appreciation in little kids and the beginning stages of learning instruments, the book also has a wealth of information on the challenges and opportunities of music for older kids. I appreciated how the author, a professional musician married to a professional musician, emphasized the importance of excellence in music but also the importance of making and appreciating music for the glory of God.
Raising Musical Kids makes a strong case for teaching kids how to enjoy great music – whether by listening to it or playing it or both – and I think any parent or teacher would find it inspirational.
What are some of the ways you encourage your kids to be musical?
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