Does your preschooler show an interest in music? Although most children bang pots and pans together thinking that they have created a symphony, you can show your preschooler what real instruments sound like with a few interactive activities. For example, teach your child about different stringed instruments by setting up a hands-on play group, taking a tour of a music store or attending a kid's music class. Who knows...she just might become a classical musician one day!
1. Music Store Tour
Many music stores offer a tour and demonstration of all of their stringed musical instruments, including violins, violas, cellos, banjos, guitars and the great big bass. Take advantage of this opportunity to expose your preschoolers how different stringed instruments sound. The music store tour guide will play each instrument while explaining, in a simple way, why each stringed instrument sounds different. Since the people at the music store take time out of their normal schedule to give a tour and demonstration, make sure to get together with a few other parents with preschoolers to create a small group. Speak to the tour guide ahead of time to make sure she understands the young age of the children. Preschoolers require a shorter tour than older children.
2. Children's Concert
Both small town and large cities offer classical or folk concerts designed for preschool-aged children, which can allow your preschooler a chance to hear all of the stringed instruments being played together beautifully. Professional musicians playing stringed instruments in harmony with each other will demonstrate these instruments in a way that your child will remember all her life. Many times, you can find free children's concerts at your local park or theater. The musicians can be accompanied by members of a theatrical production, who will put on a puppet show while the music plays, or the group of musicians might play their instruments in full costume. Experiencing a children's concert is fun for the while family! Just make sure to bring along snacks or your preschooler might get hungry during the concert!
3. Hands On
If you have a few stringed instruments at home, like a guitar or a violin, allow your preschooler to have a hands on experience by looking at them up close. Play the instrument right next to your child and let your child strum or pluck the strings under your supervision. This will enable her to experience what the strings feel like when they vibrate, and how each string sounds different according to their length and width. If you do not own instruments yourself, organize a play group with other parents and preschoolers who have different stringed instruments, such as guitars, violins, cellos, lap harps or banjos. Find out ahead of time what type of stringed instruments everyone will bring, so you don't end up with a room full of guitars. The more instruments you can let your child play, the more she will understand how different each instrument sounds from the others. Make sure the parents know that any strumming or plucking done by the children should be closely supervised.
4. Start Group Lessons!
Does your preschooler have what it takes to become a mini maestro? Many music teachers offer group lessons for children to expose them to stringed instruments starting in the preschool years. The most common instrument for a preschool-level group lesson is the violin. You can purchase very small violins according to your child's small size. Taking group stringed instrument lessons enables your child to get the benefit from learning about and playing an instrument, without requiring her to have the maturity needed for an individual lesson.
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images