Mindful Parenting With Music and Songs
The yoga of everyday life includes music. Growing up as a musician and still enjoying my musical gifts, I can’t help but think about what my kids and family listened to each day.
When we really get down to the truth of it, mindful parenting is actually aided by the presence of certain music and music of a certain quality. Karma yoga, the yoga of daily action, would suggest that we select music in a thoughtful way.
For example, when I want to create a calming background for my kids while they are drawing, yoga music for calming such as chanting, ocean or nature sounds, or music consisting of certain musical tones is what I would select. When I want a more upbeat background for activities such as cooking, I play some cultural music such as salsa or swing music from the 30’s.
One of my most loved musical experiences comes from a beloved collection of music under the Guess How Much I Love You CD/book title. The 3-CD set came along with the book. The Cd set has the author reading the book, as well as a collection of classical music songs and nature sounds.They are designed for baby or child to play and rest to while listening, but they really affected me the most!
When I first got the CD’s my little baby would sleep or play and I would just cry and cry and cry. Tears of joy that only these sweet little songs could bring up. They tugged on my heart-stings. They made me aware of the immense love I had for my baby. I wouldn’t miss out on all this wonderful awe thanks to the music, even if I did feel a little silly for all the tissues I went through while crying.
This music made me realize how much I really did love my baby. The music brought me to mindfulness that I might have missed in all my daily busyness. It was a gift when I still didn’t know how important it was to be mindful. It allowed me to stop and realize joy. This music would not let me miss out on the love in those moments with my baby.
If you want to listen to this book with some of the music in the background click Guess How Much I Love You Kids Story with Music
Check out these musical resources when mindfully selecting music and kids songs for your family.
Resources to get your family on the music scene fast:
Music Together an organization that provides organic music experiences for families and children through classes and online music. It gets the family involved in music enjoyment, and just like a language, when the family speaks the same language, in this case music, the child is sure to learn. Even if you don’t know a thing about music, this organization will allow you to be an example for your child in music.
Putmayo Kids is the best resource I have found for the classroom and home world music. They pick songs that are easily accessible to both the newly trained ear and well seasoned ear. They are fun and very well produced. Putmayo kids has been my favorite and go to source for world music for the past 10 years.
KinderMusic is a good educational based music lesson resource.
Calming Music and Songs for Kids:
The Earth Spirit music by R. Carlos Nakai is so focusing it could be used to calm for yoga sessions, used as a meditation, or background music to create a calm home or classroom environment. I listen to this CD even when my kids aren’t around. It is fantastic!
Multi-Cultural Music and Songs for Kids:
The Gypsy Kings are a easy transition to Latin Music. Kids and parents can enjoy their music quickly even if Latin music is unfamiliar. We listen to The Best of the Gypsy Kings in the car all the time and cook taco’s to it in the kitchen.
A great CD for African music is African Playground . We absolutely love this CD and have some favorites the kids can’t help but dance too. For a more African to American transition in music, we listen to Jazz and Blues Cd’s we pick up from the Library.
Teach Me German is a fun book and music combination that has German Kids songs and short reading lessons in an easy format. Kids can color each lesson and a few pages can be done at a time. It’s a series with Teach Me More German the next book. We used these books around the Christmas holidays as their are special holiday sections, but it takes kids on an adventure through the year, so it could work in any season.
Teach Me Everyday Spanish is a book we use year after year. The songs are fun and they have a mix of English and Spanish so even the kids who are listening for fun won’t get lost! It’s really easy and the series. We have used Teach Me More Spanish as well, as an addition to our other Spanish language resources we use at home to encourage our kids to learn multiple languages. Fun coloring, story-telling and kids songs!
Exploring the Senses with Music and Songs for Kids:
Explore music through the senses SEEING the universe as never before with great songs from The Mighty Sky musical experience. These songs for kids have been awarded the “Smart Media” and “Notable” medals by the Library Association and Academic’s Association. It rocks and creates a beautiful picture of the universe through music.
A great CD related to all things food and also for all the Bare Naked Ladies fans our there! Snacktime is BNL take on a kids CD that does not disappoint. Weather you have a picky eater or kids who love to eat this CD makes food a feast of musical fun. We use this in the car just for giggles! Then we sing it in the kitchen because we know all the lyrics.
Auditory Meditations for Kids:
These are tracks I love to use with kids I work with and with my own family. My favorite is Mermaids and Fairy Dust.
Yoga Songs for Kids:
One of the best I have found is by Kira Willey as her music in Dance for the Sun takes kids on yoga adventures they can listen to and do!
Folk Songs for Kids and Families:
John McCutcheon’s music in Howjadoo is down home fun with a level of musicianship that kids can understand and grow into, while still having fun!
Try the Johnny Cash Children’s Album for a grounding experience for the whole family. Johnny’s voice in it’s booming base style wakes us up to the grind of daily life but in a fun way kid’s style. Great songs for kids.
Family Music and Songs for Kids:
Ziggy Marley does a great job with his family CD Family Time. It is upbeat and a great listen to put the whole family in a great mood!
Coconut Moon is a master music compilation for family silly fun. The Green Chili Jam Band rocks these kids songs, so parents can just sit back and laugh. Here is an example of just one silly song called Lard. It’s sure to bring laughter.
Holiday Music for Kids:
An amazing CD that creates the a feeling of warmth and love around the Christmas Holiday is Christmas Folkjul. I cried when I listened to this music in my car, driving home once late holiday evening alone from work. This has become a consistent request for the whole family. Don’t let one more holiday go by without this true musical gem.
Mindful Music: Jazz Up the Day With Good Music for Kids.
“Is it possible to be mindful when listening to music?”
“Where can a mom or dad find good songs for kids?”
“Since when have good listening activities for kids been so hard to find? “
I hear these questions from parents all the time. I’m glad they ask because it’s easy to direct them toward good resources so their children can learn through listening.
Being mindful when choosing what our kids listen to is important. Kids are ALWAYS listening and learning. The lyrics in what they hear are inform them about what people outside the family are doing. Let’s hope they are wholesome. The complexity weaves our kids a tapestry of sound understanding that they will compare future music to and influence their choices. Let’s hope the music tapestry is complex and beautiful.
Most important, who they listen to music with as they grow will affect who they listen to music with when they are older. Let’s hope that family musical listening and engaging happens as a part of the daily routine.
Did you know being mindful about music is easier than you think? If your kids have ears, you’re in business. Well, kind of.
As a musician since the age of 6, I knew music was my calling. I went to school many years later, specializing in sensory play to help kids of all ages and skill levels learn. Then several years after that, I was certified to teach Music Together, an organic way of bringing music to kids through the family. You could say I’ve come full circle.
In all these endeavors, it became clear that in order for kids to learn and use music long term, it has to be seen as a family activity. I’m not suggesting that every parent pick up a new instrument, but even the most tone deaf, can select music to listen to and enjoy as a family.
So you might be thinking: just turn on the radio, right?
If you turn on the radio today, many stations play the same kind of music. Not mmuch variety. The music industry is often about selling music, and music that has “different” doesn’t make many sales. So this leaves us as parents with fewer choices and less say in the quality of music we get to chose. M
Many of the stations play music with a specific signal frequency. The idea is to make it not different, but mostly the “same”. All of the outstanding frequencies are compressed down into a very narrow listening range. It’s like taking a mega-sized can of clam chowder, with all it’s diversity and goodness, and compressing it into a sardine can. Not all that exciting.
Radio is controlled by several huge media companies, and when they realized that what people buy- is more of the same. So if you turn on the radio, yours and your kids’ ears don’t develop to nearly their potential to be avid listeners and appreciators of music, let alone carry a tune or play an instrument.
Below I have a sample of 6 songs in the current genre of modern country music (which I used to like) that, when mashed together, actually sound like one song. This means that not only are the frequencies used in the music compressed to exactly the same levels, but also that the words and themes fit together topically. Just watch as the song scrolls and the different songs are played simultaneously. Amazing.
Develop Your Kids Musical Aptitude:
Musical Aptitude: refers to a person’s innate ability to acquire skills and knowledge required for musical activity, and may influence the speed at which learning can take place and the level that may be achieved. (Wikipedia)
Knowing that kids have a “window” of musical development that hits its peak between 0-5 years of age, what they’re listening to is important. Maria Montessori calls this “window” of opportunity-sensitive periods. There are other schools of musical thought that say this period can go well into the 7th and 8th year of a child’s life, and beyond.
Regardless of the age of you child, the answer here to developing musical aptitude is to get you kids listening to good music. Be thoughtful about what music you chose for yourself and your family.
Are you ready for some good music?
Your kids are ready!
You think “Where can I get some good old fashioned music?”
Here are a few ways to be more mindful in your selection of music as a parent:
1. Try visiting your local library’s music section. By that, I mean the grown up section, and check out some CDs! Don’t check too many out of the children’s section.
So often kids’ music is very basic. Not always, of course, but often. That means that if your kid listens to very basic music, their ear learns very basic skills. If that’s what you want, then listening to “kiddie” type music will work.
2. Listening to more complex rhythms, sounds, instruments and tonalities will develop kids’ ears that can understand and enjoy these qualities. Adult music in the classical, Jazz, folk, and world music genres will provide you with great choices. If you pick music you like, all the better. Just make sure the lyrics are age appropriate.
Here are three resources I use all the time. The first two use kids’ songs in complex ways. The third is a masterpiece all on its own, good for activities for kids that involve dancing and painting to music, among others.
For little ones, here is an example of Jazz used to teach babies a greeting that can be used when you arrive home or anytime you and your family is up for some fun singing! It’s called Welcome My Baby
A resource for kids specifically that utilizes folk, blues, classical, and a variety of cultures is Music Together. This is one of my favorites, and you can find many resources on YouTube for free! It called Ridin’ in the Car.
This resource my kids heard for the first time at a free symphony concert. They could not be distracted! It’s great for activities for kids that involve dancing and painting to music, among others. In The Hall of the Mountain King
3. Being Consistent with Music Engagement teaches children to be mindful of what they listen to on a daily basis as they grow.
Make family music time a priority. When you hit the library for books, hit the CD rack too. Go to YouTube and see what you like. See what your significant other likes. See what your kids gravitate to. If your kiddo likes the idea of a trumpet, google search “top trumpet players” and see what you can find out.
There is no doubt that your musical ear will be seeing a growth curve if you take this approach. And remember, even if you don’t love a particular genre at first, music has a way of growing on you.
Just make sure to start the habit of Music Mindfulness-and keep it going. If you should break out into random singing and dancing as well, all the better! If you start singing in the shower, all the more power too you. Just have fun.
And remember, your kids will surprise you if you give them the chance.
Your children deserve a good shot at a lifetime of good music.