a special feature from Beverly Pratt, grandparent extraordinaire

For the past two years, we have taken our grandchild (now 5) to a weekly music class. It’s inspiring to see his love of music evolve. He has learned to carry a tune; and has a whole repertoire of songs that he sings. He knows the names of musical instruments, and he uses every kitchen and table utensil to imaginatively play the drums, guitar, violin, bass, you name it. We see the development of a music-lover. This class has inspired our family to think about other ways to create a music-rich environment for grandchildren. Most importantly, his interest has enabled us as grandparents to develop a special time together and explore something that all of us cherish.

Here are some ideas:

— Play a variety of music in your home and in your car.  Talk about the music with your grandchild. Is it instrumental? What are the names of the songs? Do you love a specific genre? Or, a particular artist? Share your favorites and introduce jazz, Latin, country, pop, reggae, and more.

— Go to concerts–either tailored to children or a concert with your

local symphony. Take advantage of free outdoor summer concerts.

— Sing songs to your grandchild. Play songs and sing along together.  Do not worry about whether or not you can carry a tune. Just do it. Your grandchild does not care how you sound. Seriously.

— Play musical chairs.

— Play “Name That Tune” or “Finish This Song!”

— Perform to music. Kids love the freedom of expression. Pop a disc into the CD player, or turn on the iTunes on your phone or laptop. Flip on a song, and dance.

— Read about musicians. Go to your local library and find books on your grandchild’s level. Read about Mozart, the Beatles, or whoever peaks their interest.

— Create a band. Be imaginative and use a spoon and plastic cup for the drum. Put pennies in a soda can, tape the hole, and use it as a shaker. And if you own some instruments, that’s even better.

Surround yourself and your grandchildren with the magnificence of music. You will be surprised at how fast you are contributing to raising a music enthusiast, let alone creating that ever-important quality grandparent time!