8 Ways to Create a Musical Family

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Creating an identity as a Musical Family

8 Ways to Create a Musical Family


When your children are young, it’s a great time to think about creating an identity as a family.

Over the last few weeks in class we have been discussing ‘what makes a musical family’ and how we can identify as this, even if (and I would say especially if) we aren’t The Jacksons’ or Melbournes’s PerchCreek Family Jug Band and are not able to play a variety of instruments competently and sing perfectly in harmony with one another.

So here’s what we have come up with:

What You Can Do to Create a Musical Family

1. Sing 
Throughout time, in different cultures around the world, singing has been a significant feature in the lives of families. This has declined in the past few decades with the introduction of recorded music.
Let’s keep singing alive!!
Find opportunities to sing together; in the car, walking to the park, getting dressed, having a bath. Whether it be songs from your childhood (or indeed adulthood), songs from music class or songs you’ve made up on the spot using familiar tunes (think Skip to my Lou, Here we go round the Mulberry Bush or even Waltzing Matilda!), make singing part of your everyday life.

2. Dance Together
Whether it be spontaneously dancing around the kitchen together to tunes on the radio, establishing a nightly routine of having a boogie after dinner, or even a weekly ‘family disco’ with a play list built up of everyone’s favourites make dance a part of your lives. Dancing (like singing and making music), builds up the body’s natural endorphins (which are the feel good hormones).

3. Share a Lullaby Time
There is nothing better for a baby/child than hearing the soft, soothing tone of a loved one singing to him before bedtime. Establish this as part of your bedtime routine. Build up a repertoire of favourite lullabies or take any song, slow it right down, sing it softly and hey presto it becomes a lullaby.

4. Have a Family Jam
Build up that family music basket with a mix of home made and shop bought instruments e.g. drums, shakers, rhythm sticks, kazoos. You might also like to bring out a collection of ‘kitchen instruments’ to clang, tap, shake and scrape from the kitchen. Play along to your favourite backing track or sing as you play.

5. Get out that Rusty Old Trumpet 
Have you heard the phrase, if you want a child to be a reader then read yourself? The same can be said about music. You don’t have to be the greatest musician in the world, simply by having a go you will stimulate your child’s interest. If you’ve never played an instrument, it’s never too late to learn. There are plenty of simple tutorials online these days. Alternatively grab a couple of spoons from the kitchen drawer and see what cool sounds you can create.

6. Build up your Record Collection
If you are passionate about music, your children are more likely to be too. Expose them to music you enjoyed as you grew up and music that you’ve collected along the way. Seek out new and interesting music as well as old classics. Expose children to a variety of genres e.g. Folk, world, jazz, classical, pop, country, rock, blues, swing…… but most importantly the music you love as they will sense that passion.

From this you can gradually build up your own family play lists for listening to, dancing to, jamming to etc

7Go to hear Live Music
Making music together at home and dancing and jamming along to recorded music can unquestionably set off a lifelong love of music. Seeing music live can enhance this enormously. Look out for family friendly gigs and festivals.
E.g. All Day Fritz play the last Sunday of every month at Open Studio, High St, Northcote. http://www.alldayfritz.com The Mudcakes often do local shows and kazoo workshops. http://www.themudcakes.com/shows.html

8. Let Music be Part of Your Every Day Lives
As easy as children learn to walk and talk with their families, they can also learn to sing and make music with them too. By making it something you do naturally every day, you are establishing your identity as a ‘musical family’ and giving your children the best start to their life with music.

[Images: pixabay.com and alldayfritz.com ]

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