Just listening to my children is enough to convince me that they are soaking in what they hear in our home every day. When we moved to Kuwait last year, we loaded all of our music onto our computers. I found trying to locate and play the kids songs songs stressful with little hands interfering, and the mood of our home suffered.
Then, my husband bought me a keyboard for my birthday. I studied piano through high school, but have only played casually since then. I want my children to study music, and with encouragement from my talented sister-in-law, decided to begin investigating Suzuki methods. One of the key parts of a Suzuki program is a thorough listening program. The idea inspired me to develop playlists for my kids benefit. Each day after we completed our Suzuki listening, I would switch over to the daily play list which included kids songs from various sources. That list would just loop all day, except when we intentionally were choosing quiet.
I'm just finishing Maria Montessori's Absorbent Mind. Montessori is one of the great educators of all time. I am amazed by her insight into the mind of children. One of her major tenants was the importance of an information rich environment for children. Shinichi Suzuki utilizes a similar concept in his Nurtured by Love, where he urges parents to create a music rich environment in their homes. The music playing in the background sinks into our minds and hearts.
After about six months of using my daily play lists I hear snatches of Bible verses coming out of my kids mouths. They seem to enjoy classical pieces. It seems that the method is working. Inspired by my reading, I used the time my husband gave me some time off from the kids, I sat down, and reorganized our playlists. I now have an i-pod on which to load the play lists, making it easy to fill our play space with great music all day.
There's a play list of Suzuki piano pieces, for them and for me. Five of the play lists are titled with the names of the days of the week. These start with Lincoln Brewster's "Love the Lord". I included the Suzuki reportoire, in case we don't do our serious listening that day, at least we'll hear it once. Then I add in some songs from Steve Green's "Hide'em in Your Heart", and something from Psalty, Hap Palmer, Raffi, or Beethoven's Wig. Only the "Love the Lord" and Suzuki music play every day. The others are different each day. I'm also adding a playlist of songs that serve as action games to do from time to time. My kids love those at the library.
Choosing high quality music to play in the background develops my children's appreciation and understanding of music. The lyrics from well done children's music help them remember important truths and facts
Would you share your favorite sources for good kids music? I'll be looking to refresh my stock in a few months!