parenting

Storytelling: 3 Steps to Help Kids Appreciate Classical Music

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About five years ago, when my boys were ages three and five, we made a conscious decision to introduce them to classical music. We had always played it in the background or at night as they were going to bed, but we hadn't ever formally taught them about it.

I learned right from the beginning that taking a more direct approach didn't work. They didn't take at all to me sharing the cold hard facts with them by saying, "That is a flute. Mozart wrote this." So, I changed my approach.

3 Steps to Helping Kids Appreciate Classical Music

Here are some things you can do to teach your kids to appreciate classical music:

1.) Create a CD.

To begin, I bought my favorite 15 songs and downloaded them from iTunes to a CD so I could play them in our CD player downstairs so we could cuddle on the couch while we listened. I made sure to include songs from diverse composers, in a variety of genres, and that showcased many different instruments.

2.) Play the music often.

We would start the day off playing the CD. Or, when the kids started fighting, we would click play and we could tell an immediate change in our environment.

3.) Create an emotional experience.

The thing that worked the best for us was helping the kids have an emotional experience with the music. I would sit with them on my lap and make up stories to the songs. I would tell and retell those stories every time we heard the songs. I noticed that after a while, instead of calling the songs by their names, they started calling them, the "horse song" or the "fairy song." To this day, when we hear those songs playing, my kids can tell me the stories we shared.

My goal at that time in their lives wasn't to educate them, but rather to help them appreciate the music. They are still learning composers and genres and their music education has a ways to go, but they love classical music.

What tips do you have for helping kids to learn to appreciate classical music? What are the benefits of them having this appreciation?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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