As a parent it can be hard to know whether we are projecting likes and dislikes onto our children, especially when they are babies. I like to think that Little Fearse shows an extraordinary interest in books. She certainly likes them, but does she interact with them more than her other toys? Who knows? For awhile we were not sure if she really liked music as much as she seemed to. As books is my thing, music is BPs. We’ve both read to Little Fearse and played her a variety of music since before she was born. Lately it’s become a little clearer that not only is she drawn to music, but she has a natural rhythm, too.
I think that fostering your child’s curiosity, without smothering them, is a really important thing to do. This doesn’t mean we’re rushing out to enrol Little Fearse in music lessons, but here are some of the things we’ve done to give Little Fearse a variety of musical experiences:
- Of course we sing to her. I’m not much of a singer but I gives it a shot anyway. BP sings and raps to Little Fearse which she gets a real kick out of.
- For her birthday we bought her second hand instruments to explore. She very quickly learnt how to make sound with a recorder and a harmonica, which we were really impressed by.
- We encourage her to find new sounds and beats using every day objects. This can be as simple as throwing stones in a metal bucket or banging a spoon on the table.
- We let her bang away on the piano. Sometimes she even throws in a good series of notes. Usually not, though.
- She and I attend an ‘intergenerational music group’ at a nursing home. It happens once a week for an hour and we try to go each week. It is run by a music teacher and aimed at fostering a connection between young children and the elderly. It’s a really lovely experience for all involved.
- We read her books that can be sung, such as From Little Things Big Things Grow, Blowin’ In the Wind, My Island Home, The Day Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat or more traditional stories with chants such as Wombat Stew and Crunch the Crocodile.
- We play her a wide variety of music at home and in the car, exploring everything from hip hop to classical to synthesized pan flutes. (Seriously, she loves synthesized pan flutes. We said she loved music, we didn’t say she has good taste.)
- We find opportunities for her to see and hear live music. This is usually in an outdoor venue because we don’t want to ruin her tiny ears. This may be incidental, such as buskers at the market, or planned events, such as the Invasion Day concert we took her to in January at which a good friend played (and happened to bring BP up on stage to perform with her, which Little Fearse found endlessly confusing).
- We indulge in a few good sessions a week of family dancing. It’s not always pretty but it sure is fun.
We have also been really lucky to be gifted tickets to two events – a Justine Clarke concert and one of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performances for children. Both of these were fantastic. Little Fearse was completely transfixed by Justine Clarke. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra was brilliant, but I think it would be more enjoyable for slightly older children. I’d recommend you look into getting a season pass if you have musically inclined children aged 3 and older.
One of the best things about encouraging Little Fearse’s explorations with sound is that none of these compromise our BNN philosophy.