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Our guest blogger is Maria Rainier, who is a freelance writer and self-described blog junkie.   She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online degrees, and
what it takes to succeed as a student taking online programs remotely from home.  In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Teaching Children to Appreciate Classical Music: Tips & Strategies

Classical music can be extremely beneficial for children, so teaching them to appreciate it is one of the best things you can do for them. It stimulates the connection between the left and right hemispheres of the brain as well as the connection between mind and body, appealing to many of your child’s senses. Beautiful music is often irresistible – you just have to move with it – and dancing is a fun way for kids to move actively while enjoying the various sound sensations of classical music.

Children are also very creative, so the evocative nature of classical music often inspires them to put that creative energy to use – they might draw a picture, come up with an interpretive dance, or write a story about the music. An additional benefit of teaching a child to enjoy classical music is the calming effects of listening to the familiar sounds of a favorite piece. Playing some of your child’s favorite classical music when he or she is upset can work wonders. The following are some specific ways to help your child begin to appreciate the beautiful and inspiring world of classical music.

Association of Classical Music with Positive Events

When you’re just starting to introduce your child to classical music, ensure that the experience is positive by playing some gentle classical music at a low volume while your child enjoys a favorite daily event, such as playtime. After doing this for a few weeks, your child will naturally start to “like” classical music because it’s associated with happy times. Beyond this connection, your child might even actively interact with classical music by asking you about it, turning up the volume, integrating it into games, and more. Be patient with your child and allow the music to speak for itself. Some pieces you might play in the background include the Pas de deux from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Ravel’s Pavane for a Dead Princess, or even the livelier Marriage of Figaro overture by Mozart. Any of the Beethoven symphonies are also naturally intriguing, stimulating, and entrancing.

Classical Music Activities

As you introduce your child to more instruments, styles, and textures in classical music, you can start trying some activities to further stimulate your child’s mind, body and spirit. For example, you might get out some art supplies and listen to some music with your child until you hear a piece that your child can picture visually. If you’re having trouble, close your eyes and drift with the music, remembering the images that come to mind. Sit alongside your child and try to draw or paint the music as you see it. Most children will feel comfortable with the activity if you’re doing it, too. Other examples include improvisational dancing and creative writing, such as writing song lyrics, a poem, or a story about the music. Children who are naturally creative will enjoy these activities and their appreciation of classical music will continue to grow.

Classical Music & Imagery: Watching & Listening

There are several ways to associate classical music with imagery and movement. One of the most effective ways for children is to watch DVDs that pair classical music with interesting imagery. This kind of aural and visual stimulation can range from ballet and opera recordings to Disney’s Fantasia and cartoons. Some of the “classic” cartoons actually include a good variety of classical music, such as Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry, but you probably won’t find anything helpful in modern cartoons. Associating classical music with beautiful dancing, elaborate opera scenes, animated characters, or funny cartoons can help a child appreciate classical music even more.

Live Performances

One way to make classical music an impressive and memorable experience is to take your child to a ballet, opera, or symphonic or orchestral performance. Many dance companies and orchestras put on at least one child-friendly show each year and encourage the attendance of young people. Check your local theatre’s calendar to find out which performances your child might enjoy most. Spending quality time with a parent and enjoying a live classical music performance is a positive experience for any child.

Marie Rainier

Many thanks to Maria for sharing her  wonderful post!

And now it’s your turn!  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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