Making Music Part of Our Family

Busy kids are happy kids!.jpgYears ago I asked my music families to share some cool ways they make music a part of their home life.  This article is a collection of those ideas.  Hope you will enjoy trying some of these out as a family!

We show how much we value something by making consistent time for it. Keep it simple at first. Choose 1 small thing to implement- let the family choose and they’ll be more on board!  Keep in mind that it is easier to start when children are young! The longer you wait the less cooperation you’ll have, but don’t let that stop you!

Practical every-day ways to make music part of home life:

  • Sing while combing hair- it’s fun and it takes the mind off the snarls!
  • Take a minute to sing or dance along with the music already playing!  Have FUN musically with your kids!  They will see music as a fun time together!
  • Play “name that tune” and sing along with different songs that the whole family might know- very fun on long car drives
  • Play instruments together
  • Listen to uplifting music right before bed or right before school
  • dancing with ribbons or a wind wand( tie strips of grocery bags onto the end of a stick for a simple homemade one) as a family.
  • Sing around a campfires- bring a ukulele!
  • Attend musical events together (ex: operas, musicals, concerts, etc).
  • Writing stories to music- as the song goes on write a story to describe it.  A Doodle-Sketch works well for younger children.
  • Family mini recital- everyone shares a talent or something they achieved that week.

Christmas/Holiday specific:

  • Play Christmas music in the evenings
  • Go Christmas caroling as a family
  • Light an advent candle every night and sing songs and read until it burns down to the next mark
  • Sing a Christmas song at bedtime
  • Share Christmas music your kids can play/sing with elderly neighbors

Some Additional Points to Ponder:

  • Remember… Keep musical experiences “informal” for children. Performance opportunities should come only AFTER informal music making has been enjoyed. When family and friends ask to hear what you have done in music class, show them together, or ask them to join in. At these times do not push the child  to share. A healthy approach is to simply give him or her the opportunity and leave it to his or her decision, but those who are ready should go ahead. Always praise the effort they make and focus on how their sharing made you feel-rather on the quality of the performance.
  • It has been said that often some teens will take a “social detour” in music during their teen years. If the parents have given them something good to come back to… they will!
  • Classical music develops musical sensitivity and musical concentration and mental organization

Here’s a list to help you get started:

*starred selections are especailly good to promote learning and order

  • The Planets, Holst (esp Jupiter)
  • New World Symphony, Dvorak (esp Scherzo movement)
  • Pictures At An Exhibition, Mussorgsky
  • Carnival of the Animals, Saint-Saens
  • Sleeping Beauty ballet, Tchaikovsky
  • The Creation, Haydn
  • Elijah, Mendelssohn
  • **Water Music Suite, Handel
  • *The Messiah, Handel
  • *Any Mozart symphonies, quartets, piano concertos, opera overtures, ect…
  • *The Four Seasons by Vivaldi (Concertos for Violin and orchestra)
  • Any Beethoven symphonies, esp No’s 4,5,7,9
  • **Any of the Brandenburg concertos by J.S. Bach
  • Rhapsody in Blue , Gershwin
  • Bach French Suites (piano)
  • Bolero, Ravel
  • Chopin E minor and F minor piano concertos
  • Grieg Piano Concerto
  • Saint Saens Piano Concerto
  • Beethoven Piano Concerto #5
  • Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos (there are 2)
  • Piano and any other instrumental concertos are also wonderful!


  • Hansel and Gretel
  • The Magic Flute

Recording Artists for Piano (my favorites and suggestions from former student and master teacher Brooke Reynolds)

  • Chopin: Daniel Baremboin, Danil Trifinov, Artur Rubenstein
  • Bach: Rosalyn Tureck, Mayan Esfahani (harpsichord)
  • Beethoven: Claude Frank complete sonatas, Valentina Lisitsa, Trifinov
  • Mozart: Krystian Zimerman, Nelson Freire, Murray Perahia, Stephen Hough, Alicia de la Rocha, Mitsuko Uchida
  • Bach: Andras Schiff, Gould, Rosalyn Tureck
  • Scriabin: Trifinov or Horowitz

Ask if you want more suggestions! This is only the tip of the iceberg!