By Kathryn Brunner, Founder of Musik at Home, LLC
What are your dreams for your child? What are your child's dreams?
These are two very important questions.
A dream establishes a pathway. Without a dream, it is easy to float without being headed anywhere.
Why not begin dreaming together with your child today?
More often than not, moving your child toward great things involves merging your dreams and your child's dreams together.
There is a grand movement onward and upward when a parent leans in to understand how to foster a child's natural desires and gifts. This is part of the joy and challenge of parenting!
There are so many possible giftings a child can have, but here I'm simply going to explore how to encourage musical gifts!
Every child has musical potential.
Talent involves a natural aptitude for music. Talent must be developed as skills are taught and learned.
How do we inspire talent in musicianship in our children?
First, we look for it.
Watch what your child does when encountering music or any variety of sounds.
One of my college professors, Joanne Haroutounian, wrote a book called Kindling the Spark: Recognizing and Developing Musical Talent. She says it's not hard to recognize talent in children. "An infant's playfulness with sounds reveals the first signs of musicality" (Haroutounian, p. 8).
As your child continues to grow, if you see your child gravitating toward music, that is the first sign of talent.
...A desire to make music. It's that simple.
Our job as a parents is to nurture it in our children (I'll add that even if you don't see a strong pull toward music in the early years, music education will help your child grow developmentally in every major system in the body, and the desire to make music may yet grow!).
When we see our children naturally desiring to connect with music, what do we do?
We start dreaming!
When we begin to dream big on our children's behalf, we will naturally want to begin to explore opportunities to help them grow musically (more on this in a future post in this series).
I’ll be honest. I do have big dreams for my kids in music.
As a musician myself, I find deep meaning and peace through my own musical expression. I want this for my children with all my heartfelt momma-love and joy behind it.
It would give me so much pleasure to see my children become proficient on the piano and the violin in order to be able to freely express themselves in music.
I want to do my best to help my children understand the beauty of the pathway toward musicianship. In all I'm doing, I am dreaming big for them!
I have a four year old and a seven year old.
Here's the thing. I've seen their love for music.
They light up when music comes on. They can't stop moving when they hear music. My four year old has been improvising at the piano since she was old enough to sit up. My seven year old sings and dances around the house with all the joy she feels when she sings. She has had her heart set on learning how to play the violin since she was four simply because she loves the sound of it.
Because of my dream for them and because of their natural desire to make music, I try to do everything I can to help inspire and cultivate their musicianship!
Here is my youngest experimenting on the piano at age 2.
With this love for music, it is my hope that my dream will seamlessly become their dream...
Bear with me here. I’m not talking about imposing my dream on them. I don't have a tiger mom dream.
It’s an “open ended, wait and see, encourage my child’s natural desires” kind of dream.
I am simply providing opportunities for them to catch the dream of musicianship for themselves.
Because I love music so much, I naturally want to share it with them.
My husband is a fencer, so he naturally wants to share his love of fencing (sword-fighting). We are encouraging our children in many different subject areas they gravitate toward including music, science and robotics, fencing, and dance.
With all of these areas in mind, I can look at music as part of the big picture for my children's development.
In the mix of it all, to my sheer delight, I’m watching both of my girls grow in their love for music and their desire to do more and more of it.
As I am modeling for them what they can do and be and become in music, they are catching the vision! It is so exciting for me to see their musical journey unfolding!
What am I doing to help my children catch the vision for musicianship?
I am giving them consistent opportunities to grow in musicality.
1. Music has a natural place in our home environment. We start our homeschool days with singing. We explore music in a variety of ways every day through focused listening, exploring songs together, and playing instruments together.
2. Musik at Home classes have been our staple for open and go structured musical play since my kids were babies.
If you're ready to take your child's musicianship to the next level, try a Musik at Home Membership free for 14 days here.
3. At the right time for each of them (they are now 7 and 4, pictured below), I started them in lessons for piano and violin.
As we go, I’m working to give them a vision of what and who they can become as musicians. (I’ll tell you even more about how I’m doing this in the coming posts in this series).
I am seeing that my dream for their musicianship is indeed becoming their dream.
Just this morning while I was making breakfast, my seven-year-old went to the piano without being asked. She practiced 10 songs from her lesson material. After that, she got out her violin and brought it into the kitchen to give me a beautiful performance practice.
As she played for me, she asked me questions about her pieces. I gave her pointers for how to work on the small technical aspects of her pieces (I'm not a violinist, but I was going off my memory of the notes I took in her violin lesson).
While practicing one of her Suzuki violin pieces, she remembered a fun little cue she learned from her teacher. She shouted with glee, “I played the sneaky 'E' this time, Mom!“
My seven-year-old is not always as responsive to my pointers as she was today, but this morning my heart took so much joy in seeing her initiative to pick up her instruments, play the pieces she knew how to play, and work to make her playing even more precise.
All of the practicing amounts to freedom of expression in music.
My four year old is just beginning to learn how to hold her violin and bow. She is also learning the names of the four strings of the violin (G-D-A-E)! I can't wait to see what's in store for her in music!
The goal is to have a dream.
Then, DREAM BIG!
We need to show our children what they can become...who they can become in musicianship.
Yes, I am willing to let go of my dream for them to become accomplished musicians, but at the rate we’re going, it looks like music is has been deeply woven into their natural desires.
My goal is to steward their desires with plenty of opportunities for growth.
Does your child show signs of loving music? What signs do you see?
In the next part of the series, we will explore opportunities for inspiring musical talent from a young age.
This is part one of a four part series.