Music is a big part of our day. We have dance parties, listen to music while cooking and sing songs before bed. I’m not sure we could get through our day without music!
There usually comes a point in each day when the boys are bored (and therefore a little cranky) and we need something to shake everyone back into more positive thinking. You know what I’m talking about- when every suggested activity gets shot down and everyone wants to do something but no one wants to do anything.
This is when we turn to dance parties. I have a mix of good dance-y music that I put on and turn the volume all the way up. Sometimes it takes some coaxing to get the boys to join me in dancing. But usually, by the time the first song is over, everyone is bouncing and dancing around. Twenty minutes of laughing and getting our bodies moving to music cheers everyone up and gets us excited to do something else. Plus this is usually the only exercise I get and it’s so much cheaper than the gym.
Dinner time is another good time to incorporate music into your day. Really, anytime you’re in the kitchen cooking. For us, cooking calls for classical music. The best way I’ve found to do this is by using Pandora (though I also have the scores of many major ballets in my personal collection- a side effect of spending 15 years in ballet studios). There are stations for my favorite composers and we can listen to beautiful music while we talk and cook together.
Listening to music without vocals gives kids a great opportunity to use their imaginations- I ask them what they think the music sounds like, what it makes them feel, if they imagine a story when they hear it. Of course, sometimes we just enjoy without discussion too. But it’s often part of our kitchen routine.
Of course, bedtime is a time for music too. I know some families that gather together around an instrument (or two) to sing beautiful harmonies together before bed. This is fabulous and special but definitely not us. Neither my husband nor I play an instrument. I, for one, do not have the best singing voice. But still, a few simple songs as the boys are going to bed has been part of the routine since they were born. They don’t care if we sing off key and they don’t care if we don’t sing classic lullabies. I sing camp songs from the sleepaway camp I went to as a kid. My husband sings any song he knows all the words to. And the boys love it!
I think that incorporating music into our day is especially important to me as the mother of boys. I don’t think, in general, boys are encouraged to dance and sing and be part of music in the same way that girls are. I want my boys to be comfortable moving their bodies to music, I want them to appreciate musical talent and I want them to know that they don’t have to be experts to enjoy the sounds. While our dance parties may not be turning them into beautifully trained dancers, at least they dance!
How do you incorporate music into your day?