1. Music listening:
Listening is also a part of learning and it has its own positive effects on a child’s personality. Children learn a lot about melody & rhythm by just listening to music. Music listening played a major role in my own initial training.
My father used to play all different kinds of music and that’s how I developed a special bond with music early in my childhood. When you listen different kinds of music, you learn to connect with different things. You learn to connect with your own emotions and others’ emotions as well. When my father played ‘morning & evening ragas’ or ‘wind’ by Hari Prasad Chaurasia, I learned to connect with the nature and its beauty. When I first listened albums by western artists I found that they wrote mostly about social and political issues that time. It helped me develop a good understanding about the world around me.
I tried to find out where my favorite artists came from and why they wrote songs on particular issues. Billy Joel wrote a brilliant song on important events that took place in 50 years and this song alone was a history master class. I often used to search the meaning of difficult words in English or Urdu song and it eventually developed my vocabulary and increased my interest in literature at the same time. So I have no doubt in stating that I was learning a lot while listening to music.
I have included this approach in my music teaching methods. I make it a regular feature to discuss all possible facts related to a particular genre, song or artist. The songs which I include in my methods are helpful in increasing a student’s knowledge or stimulating his curiosity.
So it’s a good idea to develop music listening habit in your child. But don’t make your child sit and listen to music. Include music listening in your own daily habits, specially when the kids are around. You should play a variety of music, so that your child gets exposure to different types of music.
2. Using music apps
We are living in information age. While having a lot of information on your fingertips seems like a good idea, very few people know how to use all this information to their advantage. Smart people know that this is also the age of distractions. With all the infinite information flooding around, a person can easily get distracted. Only those who know how to filter this information will stand out. While interacting with so many kids & teenagers at my institute, I see a lot of them using phones or tablets. Most of the time they are busy chatting with their friends or playing video games. Several apps are available for chatting and other sorts of entertainment. But I don’t think it’s a smart use of this wonderful techno age. I advise you to introduce your kids to educational and musical apps. Musical apps are better as I’ve seen kids taking more interest in learning through music.
The best thing about good music apps is that they are interactive. Children can be very creative with apps and they can learn a lot from playing with musical apps. Here are my top 10 recommendations for you:
(1.) Bloom HD (Opal Limited): Developed by legendary music producer Brian Eno, Bloom is a connection between music and art. Part instrument, part composition and part artwork, bloom’s innovative controls allow anyone to create elaborative patterns and unique melodies by simply tapping the screen.
(2.) Vidrhythm (Harmonics): It’s a fun and easy way to make video music. You can video record your kids, pets, yourself and watch this app instantly mash it up into a crazy video mix.
(3.) Music4kids (Olivier Romanetti): Kids can create notes by touching the screen and then move them around to make their own tunes.
(4.) Pianoball (4baam): A colorful app through which children can explore popular tunes, instruments and colors.
(5.) Itsy Bitsy spider (Duck duck moose): Along with a musical experience, children can also learn about environment and animals.
(6.) DoReMi 1-2-3 (Creativity Inc.): Good for ear training, this app lets your child learn scales & melodies while playing with cute characters.
(7.) Falling stars (Trident vitality gum / Mondelez global LLC): Children can create a world of music in seconds through this free fun app.
(8.) Stella & Sam holiday band (Zinc Roe): A great way to learn about different instruments and playing in a band.
(9.) Kids’ song machine 1 & 2 (Genre kids): This free app has many songs with cute animations. Kids can sing along and interact with their favorite songs.
(10.) Veggie tales silly song favorites (Weeblets, LLC):
Some instrument based apps are also available and you can search for ‘kids piano’, ‘Mini piano’ or ‘kids guitar’ etc. Some interesting instruments apps are -Go! Drumset by Mobafun LLC, Ratatap drums, icongas and hand drums.
All of the above mentioned apps are available for ipods, iphones and ipads. Some of them are also available for android phones. Some of them are free and others have a free ‘lite’ version with limitations. Since thousands of apps are available and new ones are being added every day, you can search the internet for an app which suits your child’s age and interest. Some websites have regular updates on the apps.