Posted in For The Love of Music, Music and Movement Lesson Plans

Spring – Music & Movement Lesson Plan

For those of us living in the southern hemisphere, the warm weather is here. At last the sunny days of short sleeves and bare feet has come!

Then for those of you in the northern hemisphere – how about y’all just save this lesson plan for future use! It’s one to look forward to for sure!

Materials Preparation:

Find a few different beautiful pictures of spring such as blossoms, different coloured flowers, butterflies and bees pollinating flowers.

The songs for this theme are:

As always, do familiarise yourself with the songs prior to the class.

Bring along small percussion instruments for the children to use, such as small drums, maracas or bells for the Instrumental Activity.

Prepare some popcorn beforehand to bring for the children to have as a treat after the lesson!

  1. Hello Song/Warm-up Song:
    • Gather the children together in a circle and greet one another with the Hello Song/Warm-up Song you prefer to use.
  2. Circle Time Songs: 
    • Use 2 or 3 simple songs at the beginning of every lesson just to help the children feel familiar and confident. You can use a parachute that all the children hold onto in a circle in different ways for each song. It’s okay too if you do not have a parachute – you may use a big colourful blanket or none at all.
    • Here are a few suggestions for different songs:
      • I’m a Little Teapot – Using a parachute for this one may not be practical, because the children need to use their arms to be the teapot’s handle and spout.
      • Eensy Weensy Spider – Use the parachute to move with the up’s and down’s in the song.
      • Pop Goes The Weasel – Go round in a circle with the parachute and then make the parachute go high up when the song says “Pop goes the Weasel!”
  3. Introduction of Theme: SPRING
    • Introduce the Spring theme using the pictures you found.
    • Have a little discussion of some of the children’s favourite things about Spring.
    • Teach the children the song Sing A Song Of Flowers – The Kiboomers.
    • This song is a simple song to learn quickly. It especially develops the children’s memories with the order of the different colours of flowers.
  4. Gross Motor Activity:
    • Have all the children stand up to sing and do movements along to Mr Sun, Sun, Mr Golden Sun – Super Simple Songs
      • Wave your hands side to side for “Mr Sun, Sun, Mr Golden Sun”
      • Cover your face when the song says “hiding behind the trees”
      • Be creative with the actions!
  5. Musical Principle Activity:
    • In the springtime, the animals all love to come out from their hibernation and be outside in the lovely warm weather! The rabbits love to run fast and the tortoises like to walk slowly. The children will learn about tempo in music.
    • Explain what tempo is: How fast or slow the music that is being played sounds.
    • Use the portable instrument(s) that you brought to demonstrate fast and slow playing. You can choose any song you know how to play to play fast and then slow.
    • Teach the children that the real musical name for fast is presto and the real musical name for slow is largo. You may add that these words are Italian – a different language in the world that is used for musical terms.
    • Now it’s time to practice playing fast and slowly! Call out to the children to play fast like the rabbit and then slowly like a tortoise on their percussion instruments, so that they understand the concept of fast and slow.
    • Emphasize also that when they play fast, it doesn’t necessarily mean to play loudly and vice versa – when they play slowly it doesn’t mean play softly.
  6. Instrument Activity:
    • Song: Vivaldi’s Spring
    • Display a picture of the composer Antonio Vivaldi and explain that he lived long ago in the 1600s in Italy. He was a very talented musician and composer. He composed beautiful songs about the seasons. One of them was of Spring.
    • Play percussion instruments to the song, specifically practicing how to play fast and slowly.
    • Make sure the children are able to learn how to play on the beat. Count 1-2-3-4 aloud as you play along with the song.
    • Change things up with different actions with the percussion instruments. Play gracefully as a butterfly or move in different directions; stretch upwards onto tiptoes or twirl around like a “spring flower fairy”.
    • Also point out all the different instruments that can be heard during the song.
    • Be sure to cut the song short once the children have lost interest.
  7. Conclusion
    • For one last fun activity song, do The Ice Cream Song – Super Simple Songs – ask the children by a show of hands who loves to eat ice cream!
    • Sing your Goodbye/Winding-down song in your circle.
    • Treat the children to some popcorn. Explain that popcorn looks like spring blossoms on the trees. They will love it!
Posted in For Food

Easy Low-Carb Banting Quiche

 

 

So one of my family members blessed me with a little gem of a recipe for a quick dinner idea! What’s more is that it is…

  • healthy
  • tasty and satisfying
  • simple
  • fairly inexpensive

Plus, it is legal in banting diets!

 

Crustless Broccoli Quiche – low carb, quick and easy! And Banting, too!

Here’s the recipe:

  • Half a cup of double cream yogurt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup of cheese, like Gouda or Cheddar
  • 1 head of broccoli, steamed and chopped into smaller pieces
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Most of the work comes in with steaming the broccoli and chopping it. What you do first is to combine the yogurt and eggs well. Add the chopped broccoli and remaining ingredients to the yogurt-egg mixture. Pour into a greased pie dish and bake for about 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit or until lightly golden on the bottom and on top.

I loved this recipe, it was so satisfying served with some grilled fish and vegetables. I am sure you could do variations like using spinach and bacon instead. It keeps in the refrigerator for about 3 days. The nice thing is you can have it at whatever temperature, although I do prefer it warmed up a bit.

Enjoy!

Comment below if you tried this recipe and feel free to share what variations worked for you. I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in For The Love of Music, Music and Movement Lesson Plans

Under The Sea – Music & Movement Lesson Plan

This week’s music and movement lesson is on the theme Under The Sea. I’m pretty sure the first thing that comes to all of our minds is of Sebastian the crab singing “Under The Sea” in his Jamaican accent.

In this theme, there are so many different songs and resources you could choose from. But Super Simple Songs are honestly my favourite. Their songs are of a high standard and are structured very simply, logically and clearly in the progression of the lyrics. Their videos that go along with their songs are just so inviting and wholesome. Children seem to learn Super Simple Songs easily. Go and check out their YouTube channel and be sure to subscribe. You won’t be sorry. You will find many songs that you will love to use.

Materials Preparation:

Find a few different pictures or toys of sea creatures.

Bring along a portable instrument or even a few different ones (if you have) for the Musical Principle Activity. This could be a recorder, mouth organ, ukulele or guitar.

Prepare the songs included in the lesson outline below (you can buy them on iTunes or download them from YouTube). They are:

Familiarise yourself with the songs prior to the class. Bring along small percussion instruments for the children to use, such as small drums, maracas or bells for the Instrumental Activity.

  1. Hello Song/Warm-up Song:
    • Gather the children together in a circle and greet one another with the Hello Song/Warm-up Song you prefer to use.
  2. Circle Time Songs: 
    • Use 2 or 3 simple songs for every lesson just to help the children feel familiar and confident. You can use a parachute that all the children hold onto in a circle in different ways for each song. It’s okay too if you do not have a parachute – you may use a big colourful blanket or none at all.
      • Ring a Ring of Roses (Children hold the parachute in a circle and walk around in a circle, fall down, then jump up, make the “wind” billow the parachute up and down quickly, etc.)
      • Row, Row, Row Your Boat (Children sway from side to side holding the parachute, like rowing a boat, then making big or small waves up and down, and even letting a toy fish or shark “float on the water” i.e. on the parachute)
      • The Grand Old Duke of York (children march in place, lift the parachute up then down, and then salute)
      • Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush (children go around in a circle holding the parachute for the first verse, and then rub the parachute material together in their hands for the second verse – “This is the way we wash our clothes”)
  3. Introduction of Theme: UNDER THE SEA
    • Introduce the Under The Sea theme using toys or pictures you found of different sea creatures.
    • Ask the children to name some of the creatures you show them.
    • “A Sailor Went To Sea” Super Simple Songs – Act out the song! Pretend you all are sailors going to sea to see what you can see in the sea.
  4. Gross Motor Activity:
  5. Musical Principle Activity:
    • The sea can be big and loud during a thunderstorm, then still and quiet on a calm sunny day. The children will learn about dynamics in music,
    • Explain what dynamics are: How loud or soft the note that is being played sounds.
    • Use the portable instrument(s) that you brought to demonstrate loud and soft playing.
    • Teach the children that the real musical name for loud is forte and the real musical name for soft is piano. You may add that these words are Italian – a different language in the world that is used in musical terms.
    • Now it’s time to practice playing loudly and softly! Call out to the children to play softly and then loudly on their percussion instruments, so that they understand the concept of soft and loud.
    • Emphasize also that when they play loudly, it doesn’t necessarily mean to play fast and vice versa – when they play softly it doesn’t mean play slowly.
  6. Instrument Activity:
    • Song: “Under The Sea” by Alan Menken – The Little Mermaid
    • If you like, you may even show the children a picture of Alan Menken and explain that he is a composer and it is his job is to write songs for movies. You could even show a picture of The Little Mermaid.
    • Play percussion instruments to the song.
    • Make sure the children are able to learn how to play on the beat. Count 1-2-3-4 aloud as you play along with the song.
    • You can decide if the children should sit or stand for this activity. You can try to imitate different sea life movements as you play – play like jellyfish, or like a whale, shark or octopus.
    • Also point out all the different instruments that can be heard during the song.
  7. Conclusion
    • If you like, you could do “Baby Shark” again.
    • Remind the children to be super careful while swimming in the sea! They should not swim out too far out by themselves.
    • Teach the children to be kind to the environment; never ever throw litter on the beach as the litter can harm sea life.
    • Sing your Goodbye/Winding-down song in your circle.
Posted in For Family, For Food

How Having Eggs For Breakfast Changed Our Lives

As a teen, some of my friends at school would often tell me that they hadn’t eaten breakfast that morning. Me on the other hand was totally like, “Man, breakfast was the reason I got out of bed this morning!”

And I’ve been that way even as a young adult, BK – Before Kids.

Now, AK – After Kids, my kids are the reason I get out of bed. And then the second reason I get out of bed is to make breakfast for my kids. So things haven’t changed too much I suppose.

Breakfasts for me mean high-fibre, not too much sugar, full cream milk or yogurt and maybe a little fresh or dried fruit on the side. Sounds good, right? And yes, it is a pretty good breakfast I think, compared to all the boxes of colourful carbs advertised with popular characters that they call “breakfast”.

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But, it’s only half of what a good breakfast should be.

By 9am, I am starving. Starving as in “Hey, it’s time for second breakfast!” You know, like hobbits do. Because seriously, my body burns up all the breakfast carbs so quickly. Even if they are full of fibre and more complex carbs, it’s just not enough.

Then, one morning, the obvious dawned upon my husband and I:

We should do some eggs!

That morning was the dawn of our Breakfast Revolution and wonderful things happened.

Here’s What Happened

First off, it changed our kids. My youngest son’s moods have always been somewhat erratic. However, when I picked him up from school the morning we gave him eggs, the teacher asked me: “What did you give your son for breakfast this morning? He is a different child!” Those were her exact words! She told me how happy and energetic he had been that day. I couldn’t believe what a difference a little plate of scrambled eggs made!

Then for me – I became less of a hobbit and I no longer needed “Second Breakfast” at 9am. I still may eat lunches slightly early, but my body’s blood sugar levels are much more even and happier. This also has helped curb my carb-cravings at 9am, which my waist-line is definitely thankful for.

My husband loved how satiated he felt even a while after breakfast. He also appreciates the fact that eggs are such an economical yet nutritious form of protein that we can afford to eat every morning. Although the question has now evolved to, how can you not afford a good breakfast? 

I recently came across this saying:

“If you think Wellness is expensive, try Illness”

Here’s some of the nutritional benefits of eggs:

  • Each egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein
  • all nine essential amino acids (which are the building blocks of cells in the body)
  • choline (important for liver function, brain development, nerve and muscle function and metabolism)
  • selenium (important for immunity and thyroid functioning)
  • vitamin D (for healthy strong bones)
  • phosphorus (important for the kidneys, metabolism, endocrine system, digestive system and muscle functioning)
  • riboflavin (plays a role in energy production)

Now, you may be wondering: What about the cholesterol that all those dietitians warned us about?

Nowadays, studies show that the cholesterol eggs contain is actually dietary cholesterol – different from the blood cholesterol in your body. Despite the warnings of the past, eating eggs will not increase your blood cholesterol levels. Not convinced? Here’s an article that the National Heart Foundation of Australia wrote about Eggs and Cholesterol.

There are so many wonderful articles out there about all the benefits of eggs. But, if you cannot see yourself eating eggs every morning, do try some other form of healthy protein that you enjoy. Your breakfasts need not be time-consuming to prepare, but make sure they contain nutritious foods high in fibre and protein.

Plus, you won’t be feeling so starving by lunch time. If you are super busy during the day and you usually don’t get time to have a good lunch, or at all, you can at least take comfort in the fact that your breakfast was AWESOME. So it’s not a train-smash if lunch was a bit rushed, or skipped.

In conclusion, may I add my disclaimer: I am not a dietician, so if what I am saying doesn’t suit you, please consult a qualified dietician! However, my ultimate point that I am trying to make is to convince you to make your breakfasts better by adding some good form of protein. You will surely see the difference over time. (I am quite confident that any dietician will agree).

Having a good breakfast has really helped our family in our daily lives to feel more energized and capable of completing the day’s tasks. If you contemplate the growing bodies and minds of your children, there is no question that you will want to give them the best. And for the rest of us adults growing older through the years, our bodies need natural and nutritious foods that serves us well and keeps us healthy.

Feel free to comment below about super nutritious breakfast ideas that you love, I’d really enjoy to hear from you!

Posted in For The Love of Music, Music and Movement Lesson Plans

Learning Direction – Music & Movement Lesson Plan


This week’s music and movement lesson is on learning Direction. As in – up, down, behind, left, right, in front of, etc.. Here’s a great topic to reinforce using music to help our kids understand us exasperated parents when we try to direct them to find their other shoe, sock or toy. Yes folks… this topic of Direction deserved it’s very own theme of the week! I can just imagine all the parents applauding the choice of theme, perhaps even shedding a tear of joy.

Materials Preparation: Print or draw a big, bold picture of an arrow on an A4 cardboard. You may even laminate it if you wish. Here’s one you could use:

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Also bring a portable instrument or even a few (if you have) for the Musical Principle Activity. This could be a recorder, mouth organ, ukulele or guitar.

Prepare the songs included in the lesson outline below (you can buy them on iTunes or download them from YouTube). They are:

  • “Here We Go” Jack Hartmann
  • “Hickory, Dickory…Crash!” Super Simple Songs
  • “Upside Down” Jack Johnson
  • “One Little Finger” Super Simple Songs

As always, listen to and learn the songs prior to the class so that you know how the songs go. You may use other Direction songs if you prefer to use other songs of your choice. Bring along small percussion instruments for the children to use, such as small drums, maracas or bells for the Instrumental Activity.

  1. Hello Song/Warm-up Song:
    • Gather the children together in a circle and greet one another with the Hello Song/Warm-up Song you prefer to use.
  2. Circle Time Songs: 
    • These songs are the same ones you use every week just to help the children feel familiar and confident. You can rotate through a few different ones as you feel. You can use a parachute that all the children hold onto in a circle in different ways for each song. It’s okay too if you do not have a parachute – you may use a big colourful blanket or none at all. The idea is just to be able to draw all the children into the music and movement lesson as you do the same familiar warm-up songs. The ones I use with the parachute are:
      • Ring a Ring of Roses (Children hold the parachute and walk around in a circle, fall down, jump up, make the “wind” billow the parachute up and down quickly, etc.)
      • Row, Row, Row Your Boat (Children sway from side to side holding the parachute, like rowing a boat, then making big or small waves up and down, and even letting a stuffed teddy bear “float on the water” i.e. on the parachute – children love to make the stuffed animal bounce up and down on the parachute!)
      • The Grand Old Duke of York (children march in place, lift the parachute up then down, and then salute)
      • Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush (children go around in a circle holding the parachute for first verse, and then rub the parachute material together in their hands for the second verse – “This is the way we wash our clothes”)
  3. Introduction of Theme: DIRECTION
    • Introduce the Direction theme using the big arrow picture you made.
    • Ask the children what arrows are used for and what they tell us.
    • Do some activity examples using the arrow for the children to see – wave your hands up; shake your hands down; hide your hands away; move them to the left or right; spin around; and fold your arms in front of you.
    • Now use the song “Here We Go” by Jack Hartmann. I enjoyed using this song because it is upbeat and cool.
    • Ask the children to all carefully follow the direction you move as you dance to the song.
  4. Imagination Activity:
    • Song: “Hickory, Dickory… Crash!” Super Simple Songs
    • This is a fun song that teaches up and down, as well as counting.
    • Use the cues from the song to act out the different animals.
    • The song ends in everyone crashing to the floor because the elephant sat on the clock!
  5. Musical Principle Activity:
    • Music also follows direction! We think of the direction that pitch moves in, whether it is going up (high pitch) or going down (low pitch)
    • Use the portable instrument(s) that you brought to demonstrate high and low pitch.
    • Explain what pitch is: How high or low the note that is being played sounds.
    • Now it’s time to play the Pitch Perfect Game: When you play a high pitch, the children raise their hands in the air. When you play a low pitch, the children must touch the floor. It’s a cute activity that the children enjoy as they hear different pitches. This activity is important in developing the children’s ear for different pitches.
  6. Instrument Activity:
    • Play instruments to the song “Upside Down” by Jack Johnson.
    • Make sure the children are able to learn how to play on the beat. Count 1-2-3-4 aloud as you play along with the song. You can decide if the children should sit or stand for this activity.
    • Mix up things with doing different actions while playing the instruments, like playing above your head, behind your back, turning around, playing fast or slowly, etc. Be creative with using all the directional terms the children will understand.
  7. Conclusion/Gross Motor Activity:
    • “One Little Finger” Super Simple Songs
    • Here’s another song that teaches up and down, as you use your one little finger to point.
    • Use the cues from the song to point to each different part of the body: head, nose, chin, arm, leg and foot.
    • This song ends with “Goodbye” which makes it a very suitable concluding song.
    • Sing your Goodbye/Winding-down song in your circle.
Posted in For The Love of Music, Music and Movement Lesson Plans

FIRE SAFETY – Music & Movement Lesson Plan

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We did a music and movement lesson last week on FIRE SAFETY. It’s really an important topic to discuss with kids from a young age, given the great hazard that fire poses in life. Be sure to discuss the good uses of fire and of course how to respect it!

Materials Preparation: Find pictures of the uses of fire on a tablet to show the children as part of the introduction. Prepare the songs included in the lesson outline below (you can buy them on iTunes or download them from YouTube). They are:

  • “Hurry Hurry Drive the Fire truck” by the Kiboomers
  • “Stop, Drop and Roll” Fire Safety Song for Kids by Victor Johnson
  • “Dance of Fire” by James Asher
  • “Fawkes the Phoenix” by John Williams

Ensure that you listen to and learn the songs prior to the class so that you don’t look like a dummy if you are not sure how the song goes. Also bring along musical instruments, such as small drums, maracas or bells for the children to play during the Classical Spot Activity. Also, if you are able to bring red, yellow or orange sashes or ribbons for the children to wave around during the fire dance. We will be using the parachute or a big blanket to “put out” the “fire” in the fire dance.

  1. Hello Song/Warm-up Song:
    • Gather the children together in a circle and greet one another with the Hello Song/Warm-up Song you prefer to use.
  2. Circle Time Parachute Activity Songs: 
    • Sing two or three songs using the parachute. These songs are the same ones you use every week just to help the children feel familiar and confident. You can rotate through a few different ones as you feel. These are parachute activity songs that you can use the parachute in different ways for each song. The ones I use with the parachute are:
      • Ring a Ring of Roses (Children hold the parachute and walk around in a circle, fall down, jump up, make the “wind” billow the parachute up and down quickly, etc.)
      • Row, Row, Row Your Boat (Children sway from side to side holding the parachute, like rowing a boat, then making big or small waves up and down, and even letting a stuffed teddy bear “float on the water” i.e. on the parachute – children love to make the stuffed animal bounce up and down on the parachute!)
      • The Grand Old Duke of York (children march in place, lift the parachute up then down, and then salute)
      • Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush (children go around in a circle holding the parachute for first verse, and then rub the parachute material together in their hands for the second verse – “this is the way we wash our clothes”)
  3. Introduction of Theme: FIRE SAFETY
    • Introduce the Fire Safety theme using the pictures found of the uses of fire.
    • Briefly discuss with the children the pictures that you show them.
  4. Gross Motor Activity:
    • Song: “Hurry Hurry Drive the Fire truck” by the Kiboomers
    • Now this is a really cute, fun song for the kids! We all have to pretend that we are fire fighters!
    • Follow the cues from the song regarding the actions: drive the fire truck; turn the corner; climb the ladder; spray the water; and then drive slowly back to the station.
  5. Imagination Activity:
    • Explain to the children that one of the ways to put out a fire is to literally squash or suffocate it using a big, thick blanket.
    • Using the song “Dance of Fire” by James Asher, split the children into two groups: those acting like the “fire” and those putting out the “fire”.
    • The children who are the “fire” will have the red/yellow/orange ribbons or sashes to wave around.
    • Using the parachute or a big blanket, the other group of children will “put out” the “fire” with a blanket or parachute.
    • Optional: The groups of children can swap roles to take turns.
  6. Story Time:
    • Fire Safety Lesson! What do you do when fire catches on your clothes?
    • Teach the children what it means to “Stop, Drop and Roll”
    • Practice stopping, dropping and rolling
    • Song: “Stop, Drop and Roll” Fire Safety Song for Kids by Victor Johnson
    • Stop, drop and roll

      Stop, drop and roll

      Three little words you need to know

      Stop drop and roll!

  7. Classical Spot:
    • “Fawkes the Phoenix” by John Williams
    • Ask the children if they know what a phoenix is.
    • Explain that it is a mythological bird with special powers. When it would get old and die, it would be reborn as a new, young phoenix through the fire it created within itself.
  8. Instrument Activity:
    • Play instruments to “Fawkes the Phoenix”, playing slowly and softly in the beginning of the piece and gradually getting louder to match the piece.
    • Make sure the children are able to learn how to play on the beat. Count 1-2-3-4 aloud as you play along with the song.
    • Mix up things with doing different actions while plying the instruments, like playing above your head, behind your back, turning around, playing fast or slowly, etc. Be creative!
  9. Conclusion:
    • Remind the children of the dangers of fire and to respect fire; to never play with matches or fire crackers. Also, remember to Stop, Drop and Roll – should fire catch on your clothing.
    • Sing your Goodbye/Winding-down song in your circle.

 

Posted in For The Love of Music, Learning Music

What Is The Best Age To Start Music Lessons?

When I was young, I remember my mom telling us kids that we would only start music lessons when we turned 9 years old. Back then, I was disappointed that I would have to wait a few more years. For my mom, 9 years old was the right age to start music lessons. At that age, most children have basic reading and writing skills, which aids them in learning to read and play music. I come from a very musical family and as a result, from an early age I had wanted to learn to play the piano or violin. And I was so jealous of my older brother who had just started learning the violin.

Learning to play an instrument is a fairly common subject that is brought up for parents of young children. There seems to be very different lines of thought as to what age children should start. As many of us have gawked at YouTube videos of chinese toddlers playing the piano way better than we ever dream of being able to play – we can’t all help wonder what exactly is the “right” or “best” age to start taking our kids to music lessons.

I hate to break the news to you, but the answer to this question depends on several factors. Because every child is different.

Ready, Set… Go?

I think a lot of the readiness factor is influenced by the child’s musicality as well as their desire to learn. Because most of the leverage obtained in getting a child to practice music comes from their love for the music they practice. This desire could spark from seeing other musicians perform or it could merely be an inherent desire within themselves to learn to play their favourite nursery rhyme. This desire to play an instrument kindles from the toddler years.

So in a nutshell: if your child isn’t really interested in learning to play the piano (or whichever instrument it may be) hold off dragging them to the piano teacher’s front door. Instead, expose them to a lot of good musical performances, like orchestra concerts, jazz bands or musical productions with a live band. Or even watching videos of them are beneficial. When they have a great enough desire and interest, you can be sure they will be nagging you to sign them up for lessons.

ABC, 123

Does your child have a good fundamental understanding of counting and numbers as well as the alphabet? Learning to read and play music is all about counting and being able to decipher what the names of notes are.

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I like to compare learning to read and play music to learning to read a book. You have to learn the letters and the rules to identify the words. This takes a lot of practice, right? Generally the same age that children are able to read beginner reading books is pretty much the same age that they are capable of learning to read and play music. Also, they should at least be able to write their name because their fine motor skills need to be sufficiently developed to play an instrument.

 

So What Now?

Based upon my experience as a teacher, if you ask me what is the best age to learn music, I would say from about 5 years of age. 5 year olds are tough to teach for sure, but the musical training is excellent for their developing minds. On the other hand, I do enjoy teaching the 8 or 9 year olds more of course, because they can sit still for longer. And also they fly through the songs they learn. My mom was right about that!

But starting from 5 years old definitely does benefit the developing brain. Besides, lessons should not be hardcore Mozart lessons. They should only be a half hour which is quite manageable for a 5-year-old, if  the lesson is kept interesting.

In the lessons I give,  I only do 15 minutes of actual piano playing to learn the songs and exercises. Then the other 15 minutes is done in our fun music theory sticker book that has games and activities. I also will use a tablet with great music learning games that the kids beg for. So honestly, music lessons should be fun and suited to each child’s needs!

Then, just for the record, I would say for babies, play good music for them – especially different varieties. Show them how to clap along and move with the music.

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For ages between 18 months and 4 years of age, parents could enroll them into a music and movement program. Music and movement is a lovely way to engage in music and discover music principles. In these lessons they are learning important concepts to prepare them for formal music lessons. Music and movement classes are not just sessions of singing silly songs and bouncing around. Dynamics, beat and rhythm are taught, just to name a few. As the name implies, there is a lot of movement – which keeps their little active bodies happy. Music and movement lessons are more like music lessons tailored for little ones who lack the concentration and fine motor skills to actually sit down and try to play a single note on an instrument.

A Few More Things To Keep In Mind

So when you do enroll your child in formal music lessons, if they are young, start on piano or recorder or ukulele. Those instruments are physically the least demanding to begin with. Also, take note that at a young age, practice sessions at home need to be encouraged and even supervised by the parent. Yes, the Parent. Practice is your problem too! I have too many students whose parents are not even trying to get their kids to practice 5 minutes a week. Please, Parents!

But – and here’s a big but – when the music lessons start becoming a fight and a stress for both parent and child, I recommend either changing to a different instrument, changing the teacher or taking a break from lessons. If lessons are terminated, keep exposing your child to different instruments and musical performances. This is most important to developing your child’s musicality and consequently their desire to learn an instrument.

Lastly, remember that everyone has some degree of musicality. Even a non-musical person deserves to express themselves musically, in their own way. It does something for the soul. A music therapist once told me that music is actually a human behaviour – it is an innate desire in human beings to express themselves musically. Many people have been traumatized in their childhood by being forced to play the piano. The piano may have not been suited to them and perhaps the trumpet, for instance, may have been better.

My point is: Many adults have been deprived of a lifetime of musical pleasure and satisfaction that comes from playing a musical instrument, because (a) they were not given the opportunity to learn or (b) they had a bad experience as a child.

Let us as parents give our children the opportunity to learn an instrument. From birth, play music for them. From 18 months enroll in a Music and Movement class or something similar. Then from 5 years, start on an easy instrument such as the piano, recorder or ukulele. And remember that every child is different and may be ready for formal lessons at slightly different ages and stages of development. So really, the time to start exposing children music be it an informal or formal setting – whatever their age – is really, now.

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Here’s my 4 year-old son during one of his first piano lessons. He’s so proud to be learning to play! Comment below with your own personal experience about what was the right time for music lessons for your kids.