Your Musical Child:
Inspiring Kids to Play and Sing for Keeps
By Jessica Baron Turner, M.A.
Review by Erin Bauer
Many parents wish they had pursued, with greater tenacity, their musical ventures as children. Reasons for regret range from frustrations with the pressure of musical perfection to getting distracted by other interests, such as sports, school activities and the opposite sex. Many parents remember their own days as music students, procrastinating until either bribes or threats convinced them to hunker down and practice the week’s requirements. Perhaps if earlier generations had this book, everyone would be fluently musical. In response to her own childhood experiences with music, Jessica Baron Turner wrote this book to equip parents with the tools necessary to guide their children through a melodious musical experience.
How do you choose a musical instrument? How do you continually motivate your children, even when they want to quit? Where can parents find information on music programs, teachers, camps, and other resources? The answers to all of these questions and many more can be found in this new book, written by Jessica Baron Turner, M.A., a music educator and child developmental specialist. Your Musical Child, Inspiring Kids to Play and Sing for Keeps, supports parents’ creative potential by guiding them in their quest in musical parenting.
In an easy-to-read format, Your Musical Child provides an abundance of information and suggestions readers can use to recognize and develop the musical awareness, pitch, rhythmic and instrumental skills in their children. However, before parents can encourage their young musicians, they must first learn children’s developmental stages.
To educate her readers, Baron Turner’s Your Musical Child examines the ages and stages of musical development. From birth until eight years old, Baron Turner explains musical awareness, pitch development, rhythmic development and movement, cognitive development and instrumental development. Through her detailed examination of these stages of musical maturity in children, readers can make informed decisions on choosing an instrument, choosing a teacher or musical program and cultivating a routine to incorporate music in family life.
Selecting a musical instrument, a sometimes-daunting task for parents, is explained concisely, with a keen awareness of a child’s physical attributes and personality traits. As Baron Turner explains, readers must remember that a child’s first instrument will most likely not be the last, so it’s important to start with a “gateway instrument,” one which will lend skills to a more sophisticated instrument later. Piano, flutophone, penny whistle recorders and guitar are excellent gateway instrument choices. Piano is the most logical first instrument, as it prepares a child to play an array of other instruments. Also keep in mind a child’s physicality. Turner explains physical traits and how they can help select an obviously appropriate instrument. For instance, if she has delicate fingers, guitar may not be a good choice. Regardless of the instrument chosen, Your Musical Child will help parents to motivate your child, aim for success, develop a sound practice routine and prepare their child to confidently perform.
A love of music requires more than an instrument and weekly lessons;Your Musical Child offers an array ideas to help cultivate interest in music and turn the home into an inspirational environment , resulting in a more musical family life. Here are a few of her suggestions to help the reader’s family blossom musically.
- Integrate singing into your daily lives.
- Introduce singing into some of the little transitions and tasks that take place every day.
- Preschoolers love musical toys.
- Get your child a keyboard or synthesizer with preprogrammed melodies she can play independently.
- Rent old movies of Broadway musicals and watch them together. Perform the songs together.
- Study a musical instrument or join a choir so your children can hear you making an effort.
- Take your child to hear live performances of music at local cafes, festivals, concerts, and theaters.
- Enroll your child in classes that include music as a secondary form-dance lessons, arts, and yoga expand your child’s musical horizons indirectly.
From pregnancy through the elementary school years, Your Musical Child is a resource parents will refer to over and over again. It’s intended to help children and parents alike in their quest for musical fulfillment. This book encourages the knowledge of and enthusiasm for all of music’s notes and ranges. Its positive messages, achievable recommendations and reliable resources take the guesswork out of guiding children through an enriching musical journey.