Friday, July 22, 2011

Music In Our Home

Both my husband and I grew up with musicians in the family (and play instruments ourselves) and it was obvious quite early that Tyler had a passion for music as well. One of Tyler's centers in our home is just for music, he has a listening area where he can play CD's independently, and we've also try to incorporate "family music time" into our mornings. In this post I'll talk about each of these!

This is Tyler's music center. In the basket currently are small instruments like shakers, a harmonica, a tambourine, jingle bells, crower with mallet, and a recorder. You'll notice that his talking and singing dog Scout is included here. Though I'm not a fan of this electronic, passive toy, taking this beloved pup from Ty would be quite cruel, so it stays! He is working on how to turn the wind-up key on his lullaby giraffe as well. The song it plays is very relaxing to him.

Since he was an older infant, Tyler has happily sat and listened to entire CD's, seeming to soak-in every note and verse. I can't tell you what a dream this is when I have something that I need to do without little "helping" hands around! We often borrow CD's from our library to provide him with a variety of music types as well as creating mix CD's from our own iTunes collection.

Tyler used to play his CD's on our PlayStation until it died from so much use. He quickly learned how to independently work the television and do everything from inserting a CD to using the controller to get the music going and he was quite upset when it stopped working. We recently managed to find a small boom box (not easy these days!) for him to use instead. He quickly learned to use the controls, including figuring out the radio. At times we have found him listening to ESPN radio, which makes his Daddy quite proud! 

After finding Dr. Suess' "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" book on CD, we also have started to use the CD player to listen to children's audio books. I fondly remember listening to books on my record player as a child (dating myself here...) so it's fun to see Tyler enjoying it as well. Sometimes he will flip through the pages along with the book and at times I sit with him to turn the pages together, but often he will just sit and listen.  

A couple months ago we started what we call "Family Music Time", taking about 15-20 minutes as a family to share music. During this time we:

Sing classic children's songs such as "Old MacDonald", "Six Little Ducks" and "Baa Baa Black Sheep".

Do fingerplays like "Itsy Bitsy Spider", "Twinkle, Twinkle". "Four Little Monkeys" and "Wheels on the Bus".

   We keep the beat to songs like "Miss. Mary Mack" and "The Ants Go Marching".

     Do active songs like "I'm a Little Tea Pot", "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear" and "Ring Around The Rosie"

Ty and I jam with instruments while my husband plays guitar.

I will often play a song on keyboard, recorder, xylophone, bells, or my husband will play on guitar, and we sing along. Ty isn't a big talker, but when it comes to words in music he's always wants to join in. He sang words to songs before he did much talking when he was younger!

   We play his bells together, Tyler included, to play simple three note songs like "Mary Had a Little Lamb".

My husband lets him strum his guitar as well .He's been good at using a pick since he was 12 mos old and is truly strumming back and forth now!

I would like to do a little homework and incorporate songs from other countries and cultures into our music time, as well as use more modern music in our jam sessions. I am slowly weeding out the more plastic, cheaper sounding instruments for instruments that feel and sound more real, such as a triangle, small cymbals, a drum or bongo, and rhythm sticks. I played flute for nine years and am also itching to get another to play for Tyler as I donated mine after I graduated high school.

We recently purchased this keyboard at a used music store for a steal. It's an older model but works wonderfully and has so many different songs, beats, tones and features that we couldn't get over how little we paid. We decided to buy this after we were gifted money for Tyler to buy something he would like. After showing Tyler how to play "Hot Cross Buns" on a small five note keyboard months ago and Tyler picking it up almost immediately, as well as him copying me playing "Twinkle Twinkle" on his xylophone quite well at times, we knew we had to follow his lead on this.

Along with playing it, Ty also enjoys testing us by turning the volume all the way up, but we've taken it as a moment to talk about "loud" and "soft" (this has also been true for his CD player!). I fought with myself a bit on the purchase of this keyboard as it is of course electronic, but it truly is an instrument in the music world, and none of the children's pianos I found had decent ratings (within our price range anyhow).

How do you incorporate music into your home?


  1. My 25 (almost 26) month old twins are both very into music! We have a CD player that they have mostly figured out how to operate and we listen to music through a lot of our day. (We're now having a problem with getting them to agree on what we should listen to and they are both quite demanding about what they like!) We like to dance around the house to the music and sing along. They have both been very into drumming lately and love to find sticks of any sort to turn any surface into a drum. When we go to their great-grandmother's house there is a baby grand piano that they will climb up and play. I'm surprised at how gently they play the keys, unlike the banging I expected. Your mention of the keyboard reminds me that we have one packed away somewhere and really should bring it out for them to play with!

  2. Sounds like you have a fun and wonderfully musical home, Niki! I should have mentioned that Ty doesn't dance, other than this stomping dance he does on occasion with certain "banjo songs". I don't know if he's too focused on the music or what. He does like us to hold him and dance, though he's getting too heavy to do that for long! Thank you for sharing!

    Jen - Blog Owner

  3. My husband and I are both musicians, but we have both been pretty slack in actually encouraging our daughter (now 2 years old) to play anything. She loves music, and has been listening to all sorts of CDs since she was born - classical, Gaelic trad, Nordic trad, rock, blues, name it, she loves to listen. She has been singing whole songs since she was very little and loves to play on her xylophone, bodhran and tin whistles. Occasionally, she will have a strum on her Daddy's guitar, but sadly, this hasn't been something we have focussed on making a lot of time for - to our detriment and hers, I have no doubt! Your post has reminded me to incorporate a lot more music into our lives, as well as hers. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. You have so much wonderful music in your home! I am not musical, so this is an area where I feel like I could do a lot more. We have a collection of instruments for my daughter to play with, but with the twins napping all the time I always try to distract her from them. Luckily, our music class will start up again in the fall.

    I love your handbells on the shelf. I have been eying a set on Amazon for quite a while now.